Raichl Palace Subotica
Cultural monument of great importance
Raichl Ferenc submitted design for his own house and tenement building next to it in 1903, but he did not get the building permit, with the explanation that the buildings are not high and beautiful enough, for the location where they were planned to be built.
Raichl palace is evidently one of the most beautiful private secession mansions that was ever built in Subotica. Decorative ceramic elements of the façade Raichl designed himself, and they were manufactured in a very well-known Zsolnay factory in Pécs (Hungary). This was his first design in which he employed the shape of heart, and this shape was involved gradually connecting the shape of the building with the minor elements. The interior was also designed by Raichl to the smallest detail and was luxurious and rich at the time.
Spatial arrangement were similar as in tenement houses in Vase Stajića street, except that there are more space and more premises in his palace. It was comfortable, functional and it is evident that Raichl made it with love for his family. It was gesamtkunstwerk in which Raichle's dream came truth. But he did not enjoy it very long.
His business suffered as a result of a few wrong business moves and he was declared bankrupt in 1908 by the court, which took possession of the whole of his estate. He and his family lived in the house only three and half years. After that Raichl moved with his family to Szeged.
Raichl Ferenc and his family lived in Szeged until 1912. Very soon he was back in business again, and continued his work.There he designed four art nouveau style mansions, whereof the grand mansion of dr Arpad Gróf deserves special mention
Since 1912, he lived in Budapest under the name Bernhausen-Raichle, he designed and painted, but none of his later works excelled.
Ferenc Raichl, as he singed himself, a passionate gambler, who spent a certain period of his life working in Subotica, created an opportunity himself for the edifice of his life by investing all his possessions and energy in building his own home, in which, before going bankrupt, had hardly lived for four years. Yet, this edifice made him one of the famous Art Nouveau designers.
A new owner of the Raichl's palace was a bank (Szabadkai Takarék Pénztár es Népbank R.T.) which was not capable of using the building in such a way to preserve its values. The building had been partitioned into small size apartments and the whole real estate was sold at auction in 1908. A few articles were published in the local newspapers arguing against the auction and proposing to turn the building into an edifice that would house cultural institution. But neither the new owners nor the building administrators would accept the idea.
Only lately, in 1970 the building was officially handed over to the administration of a modern gallery known by the name “Likovni susret”.
The MODERN ART GALLERY in Subotica (established in 1962) pursues museum- and gallery-related activities in the field of contemporary visual and applied arts. The Gallery has over 1400 artefacts in its collections (paintings, graphic art, sculpture, ceramic art and new media) made by renowned artists from the country and the region in the period from the second half of the 20th century until today. The Gallery’s exhibitions and programmes are organised in the attractive premises of the Mansion, where, since 2013, there is a room, arranged in the memory of Ferenc Raichl.
THE RAICHL MANSION
Raichle selected the location for the construction of his mansion and the neighbouring tenement house in an attractive area just opposite the railway station and the recently arranged park. He had disregarded the building’s first, less pretentious design from January 1903 and in a rather short period, designed a unique, art nouveau style house with functional space arrangement and of genuine form.
Both buildings were built at the same time. The construction works lasted for almost two years because the roof tiles and a huge number of façade ceramic decorations were manufactured in Pécs by the Zsolnay factory and also, because of the demanding works in the interior. Raichl used the most updated, high quality materials and worked with the best workshops for wood and rough iron works, mosaics, stained glass windows, glass prism and gypsum reliefs. Raichl built in his home all his knowledge, creativity and love. He symbolically used the motif of heart, frequent in Hungarian folk art, in each and every detail of the building.
He applied for move in permit on 28 December 1904. He furnished the mansion’s rooms and salons with expensive furniture and artefacts, collected during his long visits abroad.
The incomes from the tenement house and rental of ground floor shops should have provided him additional sources for a comfortable life. Yet, Raichl and his family spent only three years in the mansion. High costs and unpaid contracts drove him to bankruptcy and he had to move out from his home. The mansion was taken over by the bank, which announced its sale and sold all the inventory in an auction. The mansion was bought by Tereza Hartmann, a factory owner, who rented it. Emil Schossberger, the pharmacist, bought the house in early 1930s, however kept the tenants in part of the building.
After World War II the building came under state ownership. In 1948 it had been given to the City Museum, which accommodated the rooms to the needs of its permanent exhibitions. The Modern Art Gallery moved in the building in 1969.
Over the past hundred years several reconstruction works were done on the building. The first comprehensive restoration of the roof and the two facades was made between 2003 and 2005 and after that the building regained its original radiant beauty.
This outstanding work of the Art Nouveau style was listed as a cultural monument in 1973.
Dr Viktorija Aladžić