Albert Kálmán Kőrössy (1869-1955)
Albert Kálmán Kőrössy was born as Albert Neumann on 18th June in 1869 in Szeged. His mother’s name was Júlia Heiduschka and his father was Miksa Neumann, vice president of the Budapest Stock Exchange at the time. He started his studies as an architect at the Royal Joseph University in Budapest. By that time, he had already changed his name to Albert Kőrösi (which later became ‘Kőrössy’ to which the aristocratic title of ‘királyhalmi’ was added). He later continued his studies at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris then went on to study in Berlin. Then, he traveled to Munich which was where he received his architect degree as the student of the famous Neo-Baroque architect, Friedrich von Thiersch.
At the beginning of his career, Albert Kőrössy found himself in the office of Alajos Hauszmann, part of the team that designed the New York palace. The building of the Ferenc Kölcsey Grammar School (26, Munkácsy Mihály street), the Sonnenberg House (23, Munkácsy Mihály street), the Walko-house (3, Aulich street) and the Dayka Villa (26, Benczúr utca) were designed by him as well. The Hungarian Royal Class Lottery Corporation’s palace, his joint project with Artúr Sebestyén, was built in 1899 on what is today called Március 15. square. The building is characterized by the former master, Alajos Hauszmann’s massing while its decoration shows signs of early Jugendstil. The impressive roofing of what was once an apartment building resembles an ornate crown with the goddess of fortune, Fortuna appearing on the gable. Some decorative elements like the keyhole shaped windows and the plant ornaments are immediate precursors of the Kőrössy Villa which too was built around this time. Among other similarities are the green man motifs and peacocks found on the facade of the architect’s own house as well.
In 1902 Kőrössy Married Dóra Paula Román (previously Rosenberg), daughter of Károly Rosenberg who was an official at the Alföld-Fiume Railways company. Part of Paula’s family lived in Vienna. His uncle, Paul opened an art dealership in Paris where he became a personal friend and galerist to Pablo Picasso.
The couple had two daughters: Lili Julianna in 1902 and Dóra Mária (nicknamed: Dódi) in 1904. The family received the aristocratic title ‘királyhalmi’ in 1903. At this time, Albert had already been using the name ‘Kőrösi’ which he then changed to ‘Kőrössy’ on 4th May in 1911.
After the end of the First World War, Kőrössy stopped designing buildings. By then he was the shareholder and board member of a number of financial institutions and construction companies. Thanks to this fact, by 1917, he became the person paying the 3rd highest tax rate in the capital city, taking over Manfréd Weisz, Emil Gerbeaud and Lajos Deutsch Hatvany in that respect. As a so-called ‘virilist’, meaning being of the highest tax paying citizens and therefore being entitled to a number of unique rights, he became a member of the Jurisdictional Committee. He also made generous donations to a number of institutions like the poor students of the Grammar School of Tisztviselőtelep, the building of which he had designed.
Written by: Eszter Baldavári, art historian