Baumhorn, Lipót

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BAUMHORN, LIPÓT (1860–1932), Hungarian architect who built 25 synagogues in Austria-Hungary. Born in Kisbér, Baumhorn was educated at the Technische Hochschule in Vienna and started practicing in Ödön Lechner's office in Budapest, where he adopted the characteristic combination of plain plastered surfaces and red or yellow brick wavy decoration (string-courses, lysens, gables). Nevertheless, Baumhorn's style was slightly more conventional, using Moorish, Renaissance, or Gothic elements instead of the Hungarian national style.

His first building was the Neo-Moorish synagogue in Esztergom (1888), followed by synagogues at Rijeka (1895), Szolnok (1898), and Szeged (1903). The last is the most grandiose, expressing the aspirations of assimilated Hungarian Jewry with elaborated details and very rich ornamentation. It shows Baumhorn's typical nearly central floor plan with eastern bimah, emphasized central dome, and four subordinated corner-turrets containing the staircases for ezrat nashim.

Artistically the most noted synagogues are in Novi Sad (1906) and Budapest-Aréna-Út (1909) where affluent decoration disappears and the clarity of Proto-Modern architecture took over.


J. Gerle, K. Attila, M. Imre, A századforduló epiteszete Magyarországon (1991), 33–35; A. Gazfa et al., Magyarországi zsinagógák (1989); R. Klein, chapter on synagogue architecture in Central and Eastern Europe, in G.S. Rajna, Z.A. Maisels, R. Klein, R. Reich, D. Jarasse, L'art Juif (1995).

[Rudolf Klein (2nd ed.)]