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2725_8-5x11_Catalog_v8 3/28/07 4:16 PM Page 1

The Nancy G. Brinker Collection Works of Passion,


Interludes, and Progress

Hungarian Artists
2725_8-5x11_Catalog_v8 3/28/07 4:16 PM Page 2

Hungarian Artists
Hungarian Artists
The Nancy G. Brinker Collection Works of Passion,
Interludes, and Progress

Hungarian Artists
Edited by Éva Forgács
Cover: Inquiries:
László Fehér, Self-Portrait with www.nancybrinker.org
Staircase (2001)
© 2007
Consulting Editors: The Nancy G. Brinker Collection
Ann Hofstra Grogg
Robert Grogg

Graphic Design:
Beveridge Seay, Inc.

Offset Lithography:
Pretzelman Printing Group
Fairfax, Virginia

Paper:
Sappi McCoy Premium Gloss
This book is printed on
acid-free paper.

For the convenience of an


American audience, Hungarian
names are presented with
surname last. Diacriticals have
been preserved.

iv
Contents

vi Preface 7 Selections from the 42 László Moholy-Nagy


Nancy G. Brinker Collection
viii Dedication and 44 Lajos Vajda
Acknowledgments 8 Mihály Munkácsy
46 Dezső Korniss
ix Susan G. Komen for the Cure 10 Pál Szinyei Merse
50 Endre Bálint
1 The Nancy G. Brinker 12 János Vaszary
Collection 52 Lili Ország
14 Béla Kádár
2 Éva Forgács 56 László Lakner
16 Béla Czóbel
3 Steven Mansbach 58 István Nádler
18 Béla Uitz
4 István Rozsics 62 Károly Kelemen
20 Róbert Berény
5 Michael Ennis 64 László Fehér
24 Imre Szobotka
73 Artists Biographies
26 József Nemes-Lampérth
89 Contributors
30 Jenő Gábor

32 István Szőnyi

34 Vilmos Aba-Novák

38 André Kertész

v
Preface

My passion for Hungarian art began cultural exchange as a way to sensibility and often a sense of
at a tumultuous time — a few days personalize a connection with humor and complexity that are the
after September 11, 2001, when another country. With the help of unmistakable hallmarks of Central
I arrived in Budapest to serve our István and the expert auction house European art. Spanning the period
country as the United States owners to whom he introduced me, from the Austro-Hungarian Empire
Ambassador. I began my adventure of building to the present, my collection reflects
my own collection of modern Hungary’s tumultuous past,
The shipping delays in the wake of Hungarian art. highlighting historic and, in some
the September 11th attack made the cases, dire epochs. One of my
spectacular collection of twentieth- Despite Hungary’s stormy twentieth- favorite works is János Vaszary’s
century American women artists, century history, its artistic tradition 1905 portrait of Countess Ilona
curated for me by the U.S. has remained strong and consistent, Batthyány, a Hungarian woman,
Department of State Art in Embassies even experiencing revivals. Most born into the aristocracy, who
Program, slow to arrive from of the early Hungarian modernists supported and celebrated the arts.
America. In the meantime, I asked studied and exhibited in France and Vilmos Aba-Novák’s watercolor of
my friend, historian, and art Germany, some in the United States, the New York skyline in 1935 is the
consultant István Rozsics, if some and some in Italy and Austria. Few mirror image of my own journey,
contemporary artists in Budapest had access to international markets, as it shows America as seen through
would like to display their art in the however, and few gained the the eyes of a Hungarian artist. Also
American Residence. recognition they deserved for their among my favorite artists are the
contribution, which was more valu- true early modernists of Hungary,
Soon works by László Fehér, István able than generally acknowledged. including Róbert Berény, Sándor
Nádler, Károly Klimó, Imre Bak, Bortnyik, Béla Czóbel, Farkas
˝ among
Tamás Soós, and Attila Szucs, My explorations were rewarded by Molnár, József Nemes-Lampérth,
others, were giving me constant an artistic tradition that is both Lajos Tihanyi, and Béla Uitz, and I
comfort. As I saw their paintings day familiar and surprising, highly ener- have a fondness for the representa-
by day, I grew to appreciate the getic but not without melancholy, tives of the Szentendre group, active
richness and power of these works, an intriguing mix of well-known since the 1930s and named after
and their historic and emotional idioms and idiosyncratic expression. the village of their residence. These
qualities. I fervently wanted to know The modern artists of Hungary include Lajos Vajda, Endre Bálint,
more about them and became often depict strong structures with and the latter’s close friend Lili
passionately interested in learning strong color but reveal, too, a poetic Ország. Vajda died at the time of the
about Hungarian art generally. In Holocaust, and although both Bálint
addition, the excellence of the Art in and Ország survived it, their art was
Embassies Program inspired me to heavily marked by that experience.
want to carry on the tradition of I am particularly proud of having

vi
such an artistically and historically
significant work as László
Moholy-Nagy’s early Self-Portrait
(1919), which occupies a place
in the international history of
modernism that many other
Hungarian artists deserve.

I have come a long way since my


first explorations. I am fortunate
to have had Richard Merkin’s
encouragement and support
throughout this odyssey. His help
has enhanced my collection,
enabling it to achieve both a
richness and a depth that I could
not have imagined. Although the
Nancy G. Brinker Collection is
still a work-in-progress, I am eager
to share my excitement about
these works and to give visibility
to modern Hungarian art, which
deserves so much more study I grew to appreciate the
and appreciation.
richness and power of these
Nancy G. Brinker works and their historic and
emotional qualities. I fervently
wanted to know more about
them and became passionately
interested in learning about
Hungarian art generally.

vii
Dedication Acknowledgments

To my sister Susan G. Komen, Any project of this size and


and to our parents Ellie and complexity that includes a
Marvin Goodman, who published catalogue and a traveling
challenged us to repair the exhibition could not have been
world. To my colleagues from completed without the assistance
Susan G. Komen for the Cure of a great many people. I am
who are meeting this challenge. grateful to all of you.

Nancy G. Brinker Very generous financial support


was provided by General Mills,
Charles Schwab, and Yoplait

Nancy G. Brinker

viii
Susan G. Komen
for the Cure

Susan G. Komen for the Cure is We have made it possible for


honored to be a part of Hungarian everyone to talk about breast cancer
Artists: Works of Passion, Interludes, — the treatments, the social impacts,
and Progress from the collection the solutions — on our website,
of our founder, Nancy G. Brinker. via our toll-free Helpline, at doctor’s
We deeply appreciate your support offices, on Capitol Hill, in political
of the exhibition and our work in summits, and among families.
communities across the globe. We have worked tirelessly so that
every major scientific advance
In 2007, Susan G. Komen for the to date in the fight against breast
Cure will mark twenty-five years cancer has been touched in some
in the fight against breast cancer. way by a Komen grant.
What started as a promise between
Nancy and her dying sister, Susan G. In twenty-five short years, we have
Komen, to end breast cancer has achieved what was once thought
become a global movement gaining unachievable: we have begun to
momentum each passing year as change the world. But our work is
more and more caring individuals join not finished. There are still women
in our promise. without access to screening and
care. And there are still people
The more than 100,000 breast dying from the disease.
cancer survivors and activists are
the face and voice behind our vision On this, our twenty-fifth
of a world without breast cancer anniversary, we ask you to join
touching more than 18,000 U.S. us as we move forward with a
communities and many foreign renewed passion and energy to
countries. Our Komen Race for the achieve our original promise—
Cure® Series is now the largest to end breast cancer forever.
series of five-kilometer runs/fitness
walks in the world with more than
1 million participants each year.

ix
The Nancy G. Brinker Collection
represents a rich survey of the
achievements of the Hungarian culture
and presents to a world audience our
shared aesthetic heritage. The span
of styles, the range of references,
and the variety of media in the
Nancy G. Brinker Collection attest to
the expansiveness of Hungarian art,
both of the classical avant-garde era
and of contemporary times.

In this stimulating assembly of great


paintings and small masterpieces,
the Nancy G. Brinker Collection affords
a new vision of an art and a history
that belongs as much to us as it does
to Hungary.
Éva Forgács

Throughout the nineteenth and Indebted to a long lineage of


twentieth centuries, Hungarian artists high-quality artistic accomplishments
embraced the progressive idioms that are well documented in the
of Western art, yet they never failed present show, contemporary art in
to let their own history and culture Hungary displays tart wit as well
inform their work. The various as playfulness, craftiness, and
currents of modernism received conceptualism. Nancy G. Brinker,
new emphases as they entered who was Ambassador of the
Hungarian culture. The painters who United States in Hungary, functions
espoused these ideas represented now as Hungary’s cultural
an outlook that was new: that of the ambassador to the United States.
independent, autonomous artist who She and her collection, which she
is a world citizen and speaks the is developing and exhibiting, invite
international language of the fine arts the American public to explore
as the lingua franca of enlightened Hungarian painting, and through it,
thinking and vision. The Nancy G. a particular segment of Central
Brinker Collection focuses on such European life and history.
treasures of Hungarian art, and, quite
uniquely among other Hungarian
collections, includes contemporary
art in Hungary as well.

The work of the living painters


in present-day Hungary is the
most eloquent proof of the energy
and singularity of Hungarian art.

2
Steven Mansbach

Hungarian artists of the twentieth With this collection, Nancy G. Brinker


century developed the styles and has embarked on a process of
defined the content of modernity self-discovery and selfless cultural
from Budapest to Berlin, Kecskemét advocacy. The artwork embodies
to Chicago. Legions of Hungarian the collector’s uncurbed excitement
painters, designers, sculptors, and about the vital culture of modern
architects brought the innovative — Hungary and its future, just as it
and often revolutionary — aesthetics reflects an understanding of that
they had first articulated in their nation’s complex and often contradic-
native land. tory past. Indeed, it is this very
history — one of accomplishment,
The Nancy G. Brinker Collection openness, innovation, and years of
extends and complements the constraint and tribulation — that
acknowledged masters of Hungarian makes Hungary’s art compelling for
modernism — Róbert Berény, both a native and a world audience.
Béla Uitz, Sándor Bortnyik — while
it introduces us to original artists
of more modest reputation.
The collection demonstrates the
dynamic qualities and variability of
modern art itself, while reflecting
the creative curiosity, open-minded
nature, and discriminating taste of
Ambassador Brinker.

3
István Rozsics

It all began on September 11, 2001, Despite my knowledge and


the very day that newly confirmed experience, I have never had such
U.S. Ambassador to Hungary, a challenging task. Ambassador
Nancy G. Brinker, had planned to Brinker wanted to know everything.
leave for her post in Budapest. She asked questions about the
Though she was soon able to take Trianon Treaty, about the Nagybánya
up her post, security concerns Artists’ Colony, and Hungarian post-
delayed all kinds of shipping, impressionism. She wanted to know
including the paintings supplied for about Károly Ferenczy and why his
the Ambassador’s Residence by paintings were so scarce. She asked
the U.S. Department of State Art in for the stories of his fantastic twins,
Embassies Program. The walls of the Naomi, the tapestry maker, and
ambassador’s residence, a historic Benjamin, the sculptor. Her questions
site in the hilly part of Budapest, were profound, embarrassing, and
remained bare. Ambassador Brinker logical. She was not afraid to ask
had the idea that perhaps works them. Over long phone calls, feverish
by Hungarian artists should be internet communications, and
showcased on these walls. investigations of auction records,
she uncovered the secrets of the
Many people, both Hungarians and art world. A new world was opening
Americans, shrugged their shoulders, up, for me as well.
saying that the task was complicated,
they did not have enough time, how This tour of the collection
could one produce a museum-quality throughout the United States and
collection of contemporary Hungarian later in Europe is the satisfying
art in just a few days, and then and heartwarming result of years
hang the paintings, too. Fortunately, of animated work.
“No, this is not possible” is not in
Ambassador Brinker’s vocabulary.

Her positive approach came at


a crucial time. She offered, in
Sir Winston Churchill’s words, only
“blood, toil, tears, and sweat,” but
she got everyone working together
to create this collection to honor
the vision of artists and the culture
from which they had sprung. People
fell in love with Ambassador Brinker
and with what she was trying to do,
especially the painters.

4
Michael Ennis

When I met Ambassador Brinker the United States have no access


in the Fall of 2003, I was asked to to museums or galleries exhibiting
assist in the organization of a small Hungarian art. Hearing their stories,
exhibition from her collection for a seeing their faces as they recount
museum near her home in Florida. all they have had to endure and
I knew very little about Hungary witnessing their strong will to
and less still of Hungarian art. I was survive had helped me to begin to
immediately struck by quality and understand truly appreciate Hungary
range of the collection but also by and its people, and its art.
her depth of knowledge of each
work. Like a proud mother, she The Nancy G. Brinker Collection is
would tell the history not just of one of the largest private collections
the painting, but the artist and the of Hungarian art. It spans over 140
period and what was happening in years of Hungarian history, and tells
Hungary at the time. a story like no other collection in the
world. With each painting, sculpture
From this beginning, I have had the and photograph we can see the
privilege to see Ambassador Brinker’s humanity of a country through the
enthusiasm spread to each city we eyes of a remarkable woman, herself
bring the exhibition. I have witnessed a survivor, who has been deeply
cancer survivors wait for hours to touched by her service there.
attend an opening with the hope of
meeting Nancy Brinker in person.
I have listened while a woman told
me her story of survival as she
escaped Budapest and the emotional
homecoming this collection inspired
in her. Most Hungarians living in

5
Selections from the
Nancy G. Brinker Collection
Mihály Munkácsy
1844 ‒ 1900

Mihály Munkácsy was largely of 1871 and stayed there for the rest history. The white of the boy’s shirt
self-taught. In 1865, with help from of his life. In 1874 he married the contrasts sharply with the deep black
several patrons, he went to study in widow of the baron de Marches. of the twilight landscape, suggesting
Vienna and later in Munich where — the tradition of the Dutch masters
in contrast to the dominant traditions After 1875 Munkácsy turned to as well as Courbet’s genre paintings
of history painting — he produced landscapes, in which the influence and the intense blacks of Édouard
peasant genres. In 1867, he traveled of the Barbizon painters is evident. Manet’s work.
to Paris, where he was strongly From 1881 on he painted dramatic
impressed by the work of Gustave religious and historical subjects in Today Munkácsy’s work can be found
Courbet and the plein-air paintings of a highly dramatic style. He was also in museums in Vienna, Philadelphia,
the Barbizon School. Between 1868 highly successful with his paintings and Chicago, as well as in New York’s
and 1871, while continuing his representing the life of the rich Metropolitan Museum of Art.
studies in Düsseldorf, he completed in Paris.
his first large-scale genre painting, Agnes Berecz
The Convict (1869), which won the Tin Drum (1872), formerly in the Éva Forgács
Gold Medal of the Paris Salon in Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection,
1870. Encouraged by the unexpected draws on Munkácsy’s own childhood
success, he moved to Paris in the fall memories and experiences of village
life. The barefoot young boy with
his drum and drumsticks evokes,
regardless of country or nation, the
child heroes of national liberation
movements throughout European

8
Mihály Munkácsy
Tin Drum
1872
Oil on panel

9
Pál Szinyei Merse
White Magnolia
1866
Oil on canvas

10
Pál Szinyei Merse
1845 ‒ 1920

A contemporary of the French Instead, Szinyei enjoyed painting for This still life — which appears more
impressionists, Pál Szinyei Merse what he understood it was: the like the fragment of a still life — is
introduced Hungary to painting celebration of the pleasures of life, exceptional even in Szinyei’s work.
outdoors and using natural light. His and the beauty of nature with its There is no narrative whatsoever,
subject matter centered on casual colors and shapes. He did not nothing literary, only the purely
activities, for example, an alfresco represent figures in an artificially visual: a simple composition, strong
picnic. Like his French peers, he constructed and calculated draftsmanship, vivacious color, and
was lambasted for challenging environment but in plein air— that intimate light. Some art historians
academic traditions of sophisticated is, outdoors, on the lawn or under have compared Szinyei’s paintings
composition and lighting. Unlike the the trees, in sunshine or filtered light, from this period to similar work by
French impressionists, however, eschewing manipulation and drama. the young Édouard Manet or to
Szinyei was a lone figure without Not only did he avoid historic Gustave Courbet’s work. White
support,without colleagues as he subjects and the pomposity often Magnolia exhibits evocative textures,
experimented with new approaches. attached to their representation, but lights, and a sense of freshness that
The authoritarian Hungarian he painted what was held in utter are found in Manet’s work.
Academy’s rejection of his work contempt by the Academy as the
altered his career. He was expected idlest kind of painting: still lifes. Éva Forgács
to pursue the somber tradition of
dark-toned, heavy, tragic historic Szinyei’s White Magnolia (1866) is an
painting in which the careful eloquent credo of the painter who
arrangement of figures and dramatic does not need big topics to create
lighting told the stories of the past a compelling picture. He painted it
and of his nation. during a short stay in Hungary while
he was studying in Munich, where all
his fellow Hungarian students — his
contemporaries — were working on
monumental historical compositions.

11
János Vaszary
1867 ‒ 1939

At a time when the art of painting lasting memories. His most mature Countess Batthyány was one of the
was held in increasingly high esteem, paintings evoke the simple eloquence earliest philanthropists in Hungary.
János Vaszary may well have been of Raoul Dufy and reveal some She was a generous sponsor of
the most popular painter ever in influences from Japanese art. several charitable organizations sup-
Hungary. He was recognized by There is richness in his paintings; porting women and underprivileged
critics, collectors, and academics and an abundance of color, beauty, and children. Besides being a wealthy
loved by an enthusiastic public. The elegance are conveyed by swift, socialite, she was also an art lover
light touch of his brush left vivacious unfailingly compelling brushstrokes. and an eminent public figure.
colors on the canvas, exuding the joy
of life with pure visual pleasure. Portrait of Countess Ilona Batthyány Vaszary’s portrait depicts the
(1905) is an early, buoyantly impres- countess as a private, pensive
Throughout his long career Vaszary sionist picture, a rare exception in person, intimately capturing her
spent many years traveling and Vaszary’s work. Its explosive painterly seated figure, yet conveying
working abroad. He studied in richness notwithstanding, it goes her forceful character through the
Budapest, Munich, and Paris. His beyond the purely visual. The model’s striking directness of her gaze. The
virtuoso painting was rooted in personal life story is symbolic of diagonal of her dark, clothed figure
thorough knowledge of the elements the complexity of Hungarian history. connects the bright and the dark
of painting. He began painting She was the daughter of Gyula sides of the painting, pulling the
outdoors and over the course of his Andrássy, prime minister of Hungary viewer’s gaze from colorful radiance
lifetime his career underwent several after the 1867 Compromise with the of the light to the increasing
artistic transformations. He created Habsburgs. She married Count Lajos shadows and darkness behind her,
works that could be classified as Batthyány, the grandson of Hungary’s offering the viewer an emotional
art nouveau, impressionist, post- very first prime minister, who had and aesthetic balance.
impressionist, and fauve. His been executed by the Habsburgs in
signature whimsical images leave 1849 for his role in supporting the Agnes Berecz
move for Hungarian independence Éva Forgács
from Austria and the Habsburgs.

12
János Vaszary
Portrait of
Countess Ilona Batthyány
1905
Oil on canvas

13
Béla Kádár
Ladies in Front of
Green Background
1930s
Gouache on paper

14
Béla Kádár
1877 ‒ 1956

Béla Kádár’s work is in the process of group exhibitions. Kádár gained Kádár’s representation of women
of being reassessed in Hungary. international recognition in these is mostly imbued by fantasies
This versatile and prolific painter who years and was selected, among suggestive of the female figures’
frequently changed styles has been other interested galleries and erotic involvement with one another.
identified primarily with his art deco collectors, by the Société Anonyme, Ladies in Front of Green Background
period in the 1930s and 1940s. Along whose organizers purchased (1930s) is thoroughly informed by
with Hugó Scheiber and Armand paintings from him. He participated cubism but uses the undulating,
Schönberger, he is seen as the most in the Société’s 1926 Brooklyn show easygoing, erotic lines of art deco.
important Hungarian representative and got exposure to an American It features exotic women pressed
of the movement. audience as well. closely together and covered by
thin veils only. The flatness of the
But Kádár also had realist, art Kádár painted pictures reminiscent painting gives added emphasis to
nouveau, and symbolist periods, of Marc Chagall during the early the curving lines of the bodies
and in the 1920s he was a radical 1920s. While these romanticized life and the deliberately reductive
modernist. He was brought to the — Jewish and otherwise — in the representation of the faces. Kádár
attention of Herwarth Walden, Hungarian countryside, he found posits the women not so much in
Berlin’s leading champion of modern his real voice when he adopted art reality as in erotic fantasy, which was
art, by no less an authority than Lajos deco in the early 1930s. This style highly appreciated by his audience.
Kassák, the leader of the Hungarian and the urban subject matters he
avant-garde. For a short period of chose to depict resonated well with Éva Forgács
time Kádár lived in Berlin, the art Kádár’s most faithful audience —
capital of interwar Europe. During the urban, moderately modernist,
this time he had both a solo show in educated upper middle classes.
Walden’s Der Sturm Gallery, the main Kádár has always been noted for
venue of international modernist the skill, fluency, and charm in his
and avant-garde art, and he received work. Although stylized, his work
invitations to participate in a number was always accessible and enjoyed
by an audience in Hungary as well
as abroad.

15
Béla Czóbel
1883 ‒ 1976

Throughout his long life, Béla Czóbel Dezső Orbán, Bertalan Pór, and Lajos Reclining Girl (1930) is a simplified
had an exceptional standing among Tihanyi in founding The Seekers, the rendering of a nude evoking, through
Hungarian artists. He was a living first modernist group in Hungary, the figure’s childlike body and almost
classic, a French and Hungarian renamed The Eight in 1911. apparent unawareness, not only the
painter at the same time. early expressionists but even the
During World War I, Czóbel lived and primitivists. The framed painting
In the early 1900s Czóbel studied in worked in the Netherlands, and in the background is a more
Munich, later at the Nagybánya (Baia exhibited in Amsterdam. While in sophisticated reference connecting
Mare, Romania) Artists’ Colony, and in Berlin in the early 1920s he became the joy of art to the joy of life.
Paris. Nagybánya was the workshop acquainted with the German Czóbel pairs a warm red on the
and artistic center for the Hungarian expressionists and clearly saw the right and a dense blue on the left,
impressionists (the plein-air painters) close resemblance between their positioning the fragile female body
and the generation known as work and the short-lived French as a bridge between the sensual
neo-impressionists. One of the fauvism. From 1925 he lived both and the intellectual spheres. Through
first painters to explore the highly in Paris and Budapest. Until 1940 he this shimmering presence, he
expressive and aesthetic value of spent his summer vacations in the achieves balance and serenity.
color, Czóbel was a leading post- baroque castle of his friend Baron
impressionist, returning from Paris to Ferenc Hatvany, an artist and Czóbel has become the iconic figure
Nagybánya in 1906 as a full-fledged collector of international standing. of idiosyncratic and moderate
fauve painter who had exhibited with Czóbel chose Szentendre as his modernism in Hungary. He absorbed
Henri Matisse, André Derain, and second home when away from Paris. expressionism, fauvism, and even
Maurice de Vlaminck at the 1905 cubism but applied them on his own
Salon d’Automne. Czóbel was a figurative painter but terms, focusing on the inner vision
never a realist. He used soft, deep emanating from the figures and
Czóbel had his first one-man show in black contours and intense colors, objects in his paintings.
Paris in 1907 and continued to have a transforming his landscapes,
strong presence in both the Paris and portraits, nudes, and still lifes into Éva Forgács
the Budapest art scene. In 1909 he stylized renditions of an inner
joined Károly Kernstok, Róbert condition. He wavered between
Berény, Dezső Czigány, Ödön Márffy, expressionism and a reticent, poetic
post-impressionism. The figurative
motifs of his paintings function
as a screen with a multitude of
emotional and unconscious elements
behind them.

16
Béla Czóbel
Reclining Girl
1930
Oil on canvas

17
Béla Uitz
Sitting Woman
1918
Walnut stain,
India ink on paper

18
Béla Uitz
1887 ‒ 1972

Béla Uitz was a key figure in the teaching, Uitz also designed murals in equally strong structures: Uitz
first generation of the Hungarian and posters for the Commune, so systematically pursued the synthesis
avant-garde. Having studied at the after the Commune’s defeat in of rational, constructive order, and
Hungarian Academy of Decorative August 1919 he had no choice but intense feeling.
Arts, he transferred to the Hungarian to leave the country. He stayed close
Academy of Fine Arts in 1908. His to Kassák during their exile in Vienna, Sitting Woman (1918) is a strong-
friend the painter József Nemes- but traveled to Moscow in 1921 to contoured, well-constructed, powerful
Lampérth’s energetic, free, almost participate in the Comintern’s Third work of Uitz’s activist period as well
gesturelike drawings had a decisive Congress, that is, the international as an important document of the
impact on Uitz’s work. Uitz joined the organization of communist parties. Hungarian avant-garde. Although it is
militant avant-garde circle of Lajos Returning from Moscow, he ink on paper, it is—typically for Uitz—
Kassák, which was informed by the visited Berlin, bringing firsthand a monumental composition. In its
Berlin-based socialist-anarchist forum information about the new Russian dark-and-light contrasts and dynamic,
Die Aktion. He married one of constructivism to the international curved shapes, revolutionary fervor
Kassák’s sisters in 1912, and the community of artists in Berlin. blends with Renaissance dignity,
frequent artistic and political debates turning the mundane figure into a
that he had had with his friend now Because of political differences colossal, symbolic woman, a working-
continued with his brother-in-law: with Kassák, who was more of a class Madonna.
Uitz was more the militant moderate social democrat that a
communist, while Kassák was more communist, Uitz quit the Ma (Today Uitz’s significance was not lost on
the moderate social democrat. Circle) in 1922 and launched the his contemporaries. Many of his
communist journal Egység (Unity) works were instantly purchased by
During the 1919 Hungarian in Vienna as co-editor with the poet collectors, and in 1915 he won the
Commune, Uitz was committed to Aladár Komját. After a two-year stay Gold Medal at the International
the idea of social equality. As director in Paris, Uitz moved to Moscow in Exhibition in San Francisco.
of a proletarian art school he took an 1926, where he lived until his return Progressive critics celebrated his
active part in making art accessible to to Hungary in 1970. powerful visions in which, as Iván
all. The children in his school visited Hevesy said, “The small and poor
museums, attended the opera, and Uitz was a radical artist who seamstresses appear as monumental
went on vacations, all for free. considered it his moral duty to give as the goddesses painted by oriental
Thus Uitz and the members of the voice to the suffering and the or medieval masters.”
Commune realized the idea of a oppressed. During World War I he
new and just society. Besides his represented the pain and tragedy Éva Forgács
of the soldiers and their families
with pathos and compassion.
The strong emotional charge of his
works was expressed, however,

19
Róbert Berény
1887 ‒ 1953

The most Cézannesque among the Berény was only nineteen years Budapest, 1909. Berény was the
young Hungarian modernists of the old when he attracted attention in most experimental painter of the
1910s, Róbert Berény sought Paris as an emerging artist. He group, using audacious color and
structure and solidity in his early participated in important exhibitions paying particular attention to the
paintings. He carefully constructed and attended Gertrude Stein’s spatial structure of painting. He was
his pictures and developed his Saturday night parties, where he noted for an element of logic, self-
tectonic style early in his career, but met Pablo Picasso and Henri irony, and intellectual construction in
used color in a surprising, striking Matisse. In 1908 Maurice Denis his works. Indeed, he was educated
manner that some of his critics praised Berény for his excellent in philosophy and psychoanalysis
call “magic.” draftsmanship in La Grande Revue. and was a trained musician and
Berény was apparently close to the composer as well as an artist.
fauves and attended Matisse’s
school, 1907–08. Like many Hungarian artists Berény
had to leave the country after the fall
While in Paris, Berény was also in of the 1919 Commune in Hungary,
touch with fellow Hungarian painters,
some of whom also joined the
group known as The Seekers in

20
Róbert Berény
Still Life with Blue Pitcher
1911
Oil on canvas
laid down on cardboard

21
Róbert Berény
Still Life in Studio with
Pitcher and Fruits
1920s
Oil on cardboard

22
Róbert Berény

during which he had designed Still Life in Studio with Pitcher and
the most effective political poster Fruits (1920s) reveals Berény’s new
for recruiting soldiers into the interest in clearly defined, even
Commune’s Red Army. geometric, shapes and composition.
In his more decorative use of color it
Still Life with Blue Pitcher (1911) also reflects the impact of advertising
is a strong composition. There is design, in which Berény was very
order and clarity in the triangular successful after 1926. In this
arrangement of the circular fruit painting he also goes further in
bowl, the rounded apples, the erect subverting and reinventing the rules
teapot, and the drapery. The of one-point perspective.
triangular shape is highlighted by
the sharp diagonal of the shadow. Éva Forgács
The remarkably flattened picture
space surpasses Cézanne’s legacy,
pointing in the direction of cubism.

23
Imre Szobotka
1890 ‒ 1961

Imre Szobotka is one of the Szobotka’s dynamic early career was Still Life on Table Top (1913–14) is
outstanding masters of the Hungarian interrupted by World War I. Along one of the strongest pictures from
classic avant-garde. According to with enemy aliens he was interned in Szobotka’s cubist period. It is lively
many critics he is the only true Bretagne (Brittany) for four years. He with warm, full colors. Although
Hungarian cubist, though he added continued to work in isolation but had it is fragmented and the objects are
a distinctive Hungarian element by difficulties getting paint and canvas, broken down into abstract shapes,
replacing the earth colors of the so he had to be content with making Szobotka retains the balance
French masters with a lively palette. drawings and sketches. between the geometric elements
and the sensual, full-bodied shape
Upon settling in Paris in 1910, Back in Hungary in 1919, Szobotka of the jug. In his 1925 survey New
Szobotka worked in an international sought to combine the particular Painting in Hungary the art critic
milieu. He studied at the Académie Hungarian tradition of post-impres- Ernst (Ernő) Kállai characterized
de la Palette under the direction of sionism and cubism he had absorbed Hungarian modernism as having
Albert Gleizes and Jean Metzinger. in France. He had somewhat a preference for the idiom he
Szobotka was strongly influenced by softened his cubist vocabulary and termed “structured naturalism,”
the other cubists he met, such as developed a more classical visual rather than abstraction. Szobotka’s
Henri Le Fauconnier and Robert language. His pictures feature a cubist paintings are eloquent proof
Delaunay, as well as the young warm, intimate atmosphere as well of this statement, since these
Russians Nadezhda Udaltzova and as strong structure. He was among compositions, no matter how
Liubov Popova. He achieved recogni- the first Hungarian painters to analytical, always retain a strong
tion not only when he exhibited at represent metropolitan Budapest in sense of figurative rendition.
the Salon des Indépendants in 1913 his paintings as an environment as
and 1914 along with the leading natural as any landscape. He was Éva Forgács
cubist painters, but Guillaume recognized as one of the best artists
Apollinaire also cited him as one of both by the art critics and the
the strongest presences in his review Budapest artist community. Szobotka
of the Salon in the journal Montjoie. regularly exhibited his works and
took an active part in shaping the
art life of his city when in 1920 he
helped organize KÚT (New Society
of Artists).

24
Imre Szobotka
Still Life on Table Top
1913–14
Oil on canvas

25
József Nemes-Lampérth
Street on Gellért Hill
1916
Oil on canvas

26
József Nemes-Lampérth
1891 ‒ 1924

József Nemes-Lampérth was one the Károly (later Charles de) Tolnay, The director and leading curators of
most original talents of the Hungarian Leo Popper, Michael Polányi, Arnold the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts
avant-garde, or, according to many Hauser, and other members of the also thought highly of him and
critics, the most talented painter. society called the Sunday Circle, a purchased many of his paintings.
He was an impulsive, anxious person gathering of intellectuals, were proud
who was often been compared to of the nascent Hungarian modernist Nemes-Lampérth had his first
Vincent van Gogh. Painting for him art, as they were of the poet Endre episode of self-destruction in 1916.
was a necessity; he had no choice Ady and the composer Béla Bartók. He recovered and continued to work,
in the matter. In retrospect, his making 1916 and 1917 among his
powerful forms, bold colors, and Nemes-Lampérth traveled to Paris most prolific years, during which
the flashes of white lights and in 1913 to see modern painting he painted a series of nudes and
shimmering reds in his paintings firsthand. He worked in Paris, landscapes in a romantic, poor
foreshadowed his ultimate tragedy. painting and learning, until he was neighborhood of Budapest, the
drafted into the Austro-Hungarian later-destroyed Tabán. Street on
Nemes-Lampérth lived at a time army upon the outbreak of Gellért Hill (1916) is one of the best
when being a painter was held in World War I. He was discharged
high esteem in the vibrant intellectual in 1915 after being wounded.
life of Budapest. Georg Lukács,
Besides visits to the Sunday Circle,
Nemes-Lampérth also joined Lajos
Kassák’s avant-garde group in 1917.

27
József Nemes-Lampérth

pictures of that period, with its strong to Vienna and Berlin, where he lived
contours, expressive colors, and a in poverty but was able to make
simple, monumental composition. dramatic ink drawings of stunning
intensity. In the fall of 1920 he
Between his ever more frequent exhibited in Berlin along with László
fits of manic depression, Nemes- Moholy-Nagy, Walter Dexel, and
Lampérth made trips to Kolozsvár others, whereupon a Swedish art
(Cluj, Romania) to visit his sister. collector invited him to his castle
The ink drawings he made there near Stockholm so he could work
are among the most striking pieces free of financial problems.
not only of his oeuvre but also of Nemes-Lampérth had great plans
Hungarian art. The expressive power and ambition, but his mental health
of the dark tones and the flashes of broke down. He returned to Hungary
white and red render these drawings and remained in a mental hospital
dramatic and even fearful: the painter until his untimely death in 1924.
takes his viewers to the brink of the
abyss he is standing on. The ink Agnes Berecz
drawing Kolozsvár (1920) is one of Éva Forgács
the glaring examples of his anxiety,
which, at this time, Nemes-Lampérth
was still able to control.

During the 1919 Commune,


Nemes-Lampérth was a teacher at
the Proletarian Art Studio. Upon the
defeat of the Commune, he traveled

28
József Nemes-Lampérth
Kolozsvár
1920
Black and colored
India ink on paper

29
Jenő Gábor
Circus
1929
Oil on canvas

30
Jeno˝ Gábor
1893 ‒ 1968

Jenő Gábor was a native of Pécs, in world they called Arcadia. The expressionists such as Ernst Ludwig
southern Hungary, a cultural center compositions created to this end Kirchner and Emil Nolde, for whom
with a great number of artists. often feature monumental, static the world of the circus and side
Seven artists from Pécs alone figures in formal poses, as if they shows is pervaded by anxiety and
enrolled in the Bauhaus in the early have been sculpted. Gábor’s early sinister anticipation.
1920s, a record in the history of the work, particularly his nudes, shows
school for students from one location. a great similarity to the paintings Gábor’s contemporary parallels
of Károly Patkó. The quiet balance in style as well as subject matter
Gábor began to paint actively in the and harmony of many of his were Francis-Marie Picabia and the
late 1910s. Following the standards pictures show the influence of his Alexander Rodchenko of the 1930s,
and the ideals of the Hungarian contemporary István Szőnyi and the who foreshadowed the authoritative
Academy of Fine Arts, he was, as society of artists he belonged to, styles of the coming decades.
a young artist, inspired first of all the Gresham Circle.
by the great art of classical antiquity Gábor’s work is currently being
and the Renaissance artists such Circus (1929) coincides with the rediscovered in Hungary. His
as Luca Signorelli and masters such waning influence of the avant-garde importance as an artist and
as Leonardo and Michelangelo. and the emergence of the new a teacher, whose students included
His ideal was classical perfection as objectivity in the mid- and late-1920s. such great masters of the avant-
demonstrated by the human body Clowns, harlequins, and pulcinellas garde as Tihamér Gyarmathy, is
and its movements and gestures. were the frequent subject matter of fully acknowledged.
He belonged to those Hungarian the imaginary world conjured up by
artists who, particularly throughout many artists in the interwar years in Éva Forgács
the late 1920s and the 1930s, aspired order to escape from a reality that
to visualize an imaginary, yet ideal, was growing increasingly dark and
menacing. The atmosphere—but not
the style — of Gábor’s composition
evokes the work of earlier painters —
those of pre–World War I German

31
István Szonyi
˝
1894 ‒ 1960

Szőnyi’s figurative painting appears In the early 1920s Szőnyi became In the 1930s he was, together with
to fit seamlessly into the Hungarian the leading figure of an informal Aurél Bernáth, Róbert Berény, Pál
post-impressionist tradition of group of painters including, among Pátzay, and many others, a member
landscape painting but in fact his others, Vilmos Aba-Novák, Erzsébet of the Gresham Circle, a society of
work defies schools, traditions, and Korb, and Károly Patkó. Although artists named after the café where
easy categorizing. Although he was they never formulated a program they had their regular meetings.
member of several societies and or exhibited together as a group, They considered the legacy of Szinyei
groups of painters and was critics called them the Szőnyi Circle. Merse — representational painting
unfailingly recognized as one of the They painted timeless idyllic filtered through memory — the
greatest artists of his generation, compositions of nudes, idealized starting point of their own art and
Szőnyi is one of the lone masters of landscapes, and sculpture-like sought to create timeless, idealized,
Hungarian painting. His sensitivities self-portraits in a generic renaissance figurative painting. The group
differed from those of most of his and classicist tradition. steadfastly refrained from politics.
contemporaries. Although he painted They were supported by liberal
in a realistic style, he was taken by Szőnyi, however, moved away from upper-middle-class sponsors and
the atmospheric effects, the interplay neo-classicism. His growing interest represented a quiet, oppositional
of light on the landscape and in the landscape and the people of stance in interwar Hungary, a country
structures, and the metaphysical Zebegény, the village where he lived rapidly shifting to the political right.
rather than the strictly precise from 1924 on, created a painterly They came out as an outspoken
rendering of the objects. He was oeuvre pervaded by a harmony political opposition only during
constantly fascinated by the beauty achieved in a totally different manner World War II.
of the Danube’s curve, the reflection from many of his contemporaries
of the light on the river’s surface, the who sought to express their vision Villagers (1932) is one of Szőnyi’s
hazy tones of the sunshine across in either geometric abstraction or the finest works. A balanced composition
the clouds. A puddle in the road or imaginary realm of an Arcadia. Szőnyi of a group of Zebegény men and
the detail of a fence also captured found his answers in the reality of women, old and young, engaged
his attention. nature, the simple life of villagers, in the quiet ritual of the evening
and the small details of country gathering, it is an inherently
life. After his early expressive and monumental masterpiece of pastel
neo-classicist periods he developed hues, divided and connected figures
a meditative painting characterized and color fields, stylized rendering,
by soft hues and spiritual vision and timeless quiet.
conveyed by the motifs of Zebegény
that he felt he could never exhaust. Éva Forgács

32
István Szőnyi
Villagers
1932
Oil on canvas

33
Vilmos Aba-Novák
Trattoria
1929
Oil on canvas

34
Vilmos Aba-Novák
1894 ‒ 1941

Vilmos Aba-Novák was one of the Aba-Novák was among the first painters who had been futurists or
most successful members of the recipients of this stipend. He spent representatives of other pre–World
post–World War I generation of the years 1928–31 in Rome, along War I avant-garde trends and were
Hungarian painters. He is considered with painters István Szőnyi, Károly now reconsidering their approaches
as one of the most significant Patkó, Pál Molnár C., and the sculptor to their art. The circus epitomized
representatives of the Rome School, Pál Pátzay. Like other grantees, the longed-for mysterious, different,
a group of state-supported neo- he not only accepted the new exalted, poetic, and even dangerous
classicist Hungarian artists who had classicism but also studied Roman world possessed of its own specific
been awarded scholarships to reside, and Byzantine antiquity as well as rituals. Aba-Novák kept his desire for
study, and work for a year or two at the monumental murals of the great this world within the boundaries of
the Hungarian Academy in Rome. trecento and quattrocento masters classical forms and compositions.
The program was established to allow in Rome. He painted many pictures about the
young, Catholic Hungarian artists to world of the circus that are clearly
absorb the contemporaneous Italian One of Aba-Novák’s recurring counterparts to the Arcadia paintings
novecento style rather than have topics was the world of the circus, of his contemporaries. The circus,
them be exposed to contemporary the artificial microcosm that so with all its characters, dramatic
French and German art. spectacularly differed from the
ordinariness of everyday life. The
Pierrots, harlequins, and other circus
figures had not only had a long
history in Western painting but
were also rediscovered by many

35
Vilmos Aba-Novák

moments, and imaginary events, In 1935 Aba-Novák visited


is also the realm of fantasy in which New York City and painted a few
the painter indulges in spectacular watercolors there, including the one
colors and compositional bravura. in the Nancy G. Brinker Collection,
Aba-Novák’s articulate neo-classic which he may have meant to use
style imposed form and discipline as sketches for future paintings.
onto the nostalgia inherent in his New York (1935), even as a sketch,
circus scenes. reveals the Hungarian visitor’s
impressions and fascination with
While in Rome, Aba-Novák wandered the vertical dimensions and
over the city and was particularly triumphant industrialism of the
attracted to the many small, popular metropolis. It stands out in the
restaurants of the Trastevere where neo-classicist oeuvre as a picture of
local people felt comfortable. Building real, fresh visual experience rather
on the many sketches he had made, than imagination.
Trattoria (1929) is an eloquent painting
of a tavern crowded with passionate, Éva Forgács
gesticulating, somewhat grotesque
guests and musicians. Beside his
paintings of village fairs, the circus,
and Roman taverns, Aba-Novák was
commissioned to paint murals in
important churches and monuments
in Hungary between 1932 and 1938.

36
Vilmos Aba-Novák
New York
1935
Watercolor on paper

37
André Kertész
Untitled
ca. 1923
Vintage gelatin silver
contact print

38
André Kertész
1894 ‒ 1985

Perhaps the best known of the artists was wounded. Kertész brought his bridge cables just behind or, in the
in the Nancy G. Brinker Collection, camera with him and recorded the case of the one image, the railing of
André Kertész is seldom thought nonmilitary side of life: his comrades the steps into the pool. This similarity
of as Hungarian, as his best-known in moments of leisure and repose, is one of the first clues that these
work was accomplished after his as well as the devastating effects photographs are improvised, though
departure from his homeland. of the war on the countryside. whether Kertész waited until
Like so many of his contemporaries These photographs, some of someone dove, or asked a friend
who lived and grew up in Budapest, which were published in Hungarian to help is not certain.
Kertész was fascinated by rural newspapers and journals, show
Hungarian culture. Frequent trips to the same simplicity that informed Kértesz shot the images at a
the Ethnographic Museum as well his earlier pictures. relatively high speed, eliminating the
as to relatives in the countryside blurriness of the motion, but he also
fueled his interest. By the age of At the end of World War I, Kertész used a broad depth of field, so that
twelve Kertész was already taking returned to Budapest and to almost everything in the images —
photographs; yet even at this young photography. The two images in such as the Gellért Memorial or
age, the characteristics of his mature the Brinker Collection date from the Greek Orthodox Church in the
work — simplicity of subject matter this period. The photographs, taken background — is clear. These two
and the sense of the dramatic in at a floating swimming pool on the factors combine to contribute to the
ordinary scenes — was already Danube, tied up on the Pest side sense that these photographs are
evident, along with his astute talent of the city, just south of the Elisabeth more a witnessing of the event than
for clear composition. Bridge, appear, at first, to be almost a photographic record. Since our
amateur images of a person, possibly eyes automatically adjust the depth
At the age of eighteen, Kertész a friend of Kertész’s, diving into the
went to work at the Budapest Stock pool. These photographs, though, are
Exchange, where he stayed until the anything but spontaneous. Carefully
start of the World War I. During the composed, they are the images of
war, he served in the infantry and an artistically and technically adept
photographer. The two compositions
are similar: the strong static horizontal
of the pool building roof contrasting
with the dynamic diagonals of the

39
André Kertész

of field and shift focus on slowly The rise of Nazism flooded France
moving objects, the photographs, with refugee German photographers.
through careful manipulation of the In 1936 Kertész left Paris for New
camera, almost exactly reproduce York City. First working as a free-
what we would see. lancer for fashion magazines as well
as exhibiting his work in museum
In 1925, Kertész moved to Paris. shows, he joined Condé Nast
With the purchase of a hand-held publications in 1947. Increasingly
Leica camera, he was free to move he received more and more favorable
from the studio to the street— a notices from art critics and even
return, in many ways, to his earlier ventured into color photography.
Hungarian work. The richness and By the 1960s he had become a living
striking juxtapositions of Parisian classic, exhibiting his work worldwide
street life attracted him. Now his and honored with prestigious awards.
images speak of a sense of alienation He revisited and photographed
from an increasingly mechanized Hungary several times. He died in
life that is removed from nature and New York City in 1985. A eulogy was
natural rhythms. Kertész expressed delivered by art critic Hilton Kramer.
this experience through mirrors,
distortions, and the use of nudes in
contorted positions.

40
André Kertész
Untitled
ca. 1923
Vintage gelatin silver
contact print

41
László Moholy-Nagy
Self-Portrait
1919
Watercolor

42
László Moholy-Nagy
1895 ‒ 1946

One of the emblematic figures of vision and invited him to be the and writings, as well as his serving
the international modernism of the youngest Bauhaus Master in the as editor of the Bauhaus Books
1920s, László Moholy-Nagy was a same year. Moholy-Nagy taught the series, made him internationally
versatile and prolific artist. He was famous Preliminary Course of the acclaimed. When the idea of the
a faculty member of the Bauhaus, Bauhaus. He counted among his continuation of the Bauhaus in the
first in Weimar, later moving to colleagues at that time Paul Klee, United States was considered in
Dessau with the institution. He was Wassily Kandinsky, Oskar 1937, Gropius suggested Moholy-
the founder of the New Bauhaus Schlemmer, and others. Nagy as its founder and director.
in Chicago. He was a painter,
photographer, kinetic artist, designer, Moholy-Nagy was committed to Since Moholy-Nagy was very young
stage designer, typographer, teacher, the artistic and social utopias of when he left Hungary, precious few
and author who also experimented international constructivism while of his works remained behind in his
with film. in Berlin and the Bauhaus. He soon homeland. Self-Portrait (1919), part
became a central figure of the of a mostly black-and-white series
Born in a small village in southern international avant-garde. He of drawings he made in 1919–20,
Hungary — he adopted the name participated in meetings and debates is the most outstanding and
of the farm-town Mohol where with Theo van Doesburg, El Lissitzky, best-preserved piece among those
he spent most of his childhood — Raoul Hausmann, and others. He works. He seems to be informed
Moholy-Nagy served on the front published the Book of New Artists by the politically committed and
in World War I and started to draw (1922) with the then-exiled leader uncompromising expressionist art
and paint on the postcards he was of the Hungarian avant-garde, Lajos of painters like Oskar Kokoschka.
allowed to send back home. A self- Kassák, in Vienna. Unwaveringly sincere, he puts all the
taught artist, he became interested power of expression into the line
in the radical Hungarian avant-garde Lucia Schultz, who was soon to work. A vibrant linearity pervades the
when he was discharged. As an become Moholy-Nagy’s wife, taught picture, resulting in a web of tense,
idealist, he was enthusiastic about him to use the camera, and Moholy rhythmical, expressive lines. He has
the social promises of the Hungarian became one of the most innovative also managed to give the viewer a
Commune in 1919. After its defeat he photo artists of the early twentieth psychologically profound and astute
went to Berlin. His one-man show at century. But in true Bauhaus spirit he image of himself as a keen, curious,
Herwarth Walden’s Der Sturm Gallery was interested in and fascinated by anxiously attentive, and confident
in early 1923 changed his life: Walter every new medium and all the young man.
Gropius, director of the Bauhaus, possibilities that the new technologies
was impressed with his work and offered the artist. Film, photograms, Éva Forgács
and “telephone pictures,” opened
up new worlds. His kinetic work,
architectural designs, typography,

43
Lajos Vajda
1908 ‒ 1941

Lajos Vajda died at the age of thirty- are explored. Brutality, suffering, and the viewer from the concrete object
three in the midst of World War II. the masses as prey to charismatic to more complicated compositions
In the years since his death, his leaders are the subjects of his that double as powerful visions.
painterly and graphic oeuvre has montage works. Most objects in Vajda’s paintings
become known beyond the have a concrete presence as well
boundaries of the art world and has Vajda returned to Hungary in 1934. as a symbolic meaning, allowing the
been embraced by the wider public With his friend, painter Dezső image to have a cultural-historical
in Hungary. Today he is recognized Korniss, he followed the example dimension. The shape of the
as one of the greatest and most of Béla Bartók, who had collected Orthodox Christian icon, which is,
radically innovative artists of modern folk music motifs. Together they in geometric terms, a circle,
Hungarian art. embarked on an ambitious program haunts many of his paintings as a
to systematically collect the sacred, definitive, yet communal
Vajda started to draw and paint as decorative motifs of Hungarian form lingering behind particular
a child, and as a young man he peasant art with the intention of individual portraits.
attended the Hungarian Academy of exploring the deeper, mythological
Fine Arts. He was eager to join the origins. They drew and copied Vajda’s most striking works are the
Hungarian avant-garde led by Lajos ornaments in the village of surrealist-abstract charcoal drawings
Kassák, but he lacked the artistic Szigetmonostor as the first chapter evoking monsters. These were made
and ideological discipline that the of a project that aimed to create a in the last years of his life when
group’s leader required. So he, too, visual vocabulary of the traditional anxiety for his own life and for the
along with his friends Dezső Korniss, arts in the Central Europe. fate of the world drove him to
György Kepes, and Sándor Tranuner express nightmarish, infernal visions.
left Budapest. He went to Paris, In his compositions Vajda used
where he studied with Fernand Hungarian, Serbian, and Jewish Abstract Composition (1928) reflects
Léger, and encountered not only calligraphy and motifs such as tin Vajda’s interest in constructivist
cubism and surrealism but also crucifixes, old houses, gravestones, geometry as well as the influence
Russian constructivism. Film, fences, and tools juxtaposed or of the art of Paul Klee. At the time
photography, and collage impressed layered, thus synthesizing he painted it, his outlook on the
him as the new media and were the surrealism and constructivism in world was still serene, and he was
inspiration for his subsequent graphic a unique way. His perspective took able to create a work that we see
work and the photomontages in a comprehensive view of the pre- as a balanced still life.
which themes of human cataclysms historic, ancient, and early Christian
cultures as well as Judaism and Éva Forgács
European modernism. His simple,
clear lines, articulate drawings, and
multilayered compositions guide

44
Lajos Vajda
Abstract Composition
1928
Charcoal on paper

45
Dezső Korniss
Flute Player
1950
Oil on canvas

46
Dezso˝ Korniss
1908 ‒ 1984

Throughout his long career Dezső the young painters and artists had In 1945 Korniss was a founding
Korniss combined the avant-garde little choice but to go abroad. member of the European School,
attitude of constructivism, reminis- Korniss went to Paris, where, besides a loose society of Hungarian
cences of figurative representation, surrealism and abstraction, he found artists formed in the aftermath
cubist formal analysis, symbolic himself fascinated by the tradition of World War II with the goal of
expression, and the dreamy language of balanced Mediterranean composi- modernizing the language of
of surrealism. Already a maverick tions. He began experimenting Hungarian art. Between 1945 and
as a student, Korniss joined Lajos with strong contours and simple, 1950 he painted clearly composed,
Kassák’s socialist Munka Kör (Work articulate, stylized figurative motifs. figurative pictures at Szentendre
Circle) in 1930 along with Lajos Vajda, using local architectural motifs and
future MIT professor György Kepes, Upon his return to Hungary in 1931 typical ornaments as well as forms
future film set designer Sándor Korniss supported the Group of taken from prehistoric folk art.
Trauner, and others, who formed the Socialist Artists. He spent long hours He blended constructivist discipline
Society of New Progressive Artists. researching the materials in the with surrealist dreaminess. In 1945
In spite of their leftist political Budapest Museum of Ethnography. he also began work on a series
views and strong sense of social In search of a modern Hungarian art
responsibility and social justice, rooted both in ancient tradition and
the group was too idiosyncratic to in contemporary Western modernism.
accept Kassák’s discipline. Since He cooperated with Lajos Vajda in
the rest of the Hungarian art scene systematically exploring and collect-
was even more hostile to them, ing the vocabulary of Hungarian folk
art in Szentendre and Szigetmonostor
during the late 1930s.

47
Dezso˝ Korniss

of several hundred prints entitled Korniss had an interest in the


Illuminations, inspired by the poetry reduction of his favorite motifs
of Arthur Rimbaud. into abstract compositions.
Big Red Composition (1950s)
During the 1950s Korniss renewed is evocative of stylized figures
his interest in collage, experimented whose details originate from the
with animation film, and also worked architectural details such as the
on smaller painterly compositions. balustrades and windowsills of his
The latter are complex as well as beloved Szentendre houses and
monumental in spite of their actual from folk carvings.
dimension. Flute Player (1950),
for example, echoes the work of Typically for Korniss, the geometric
Édouard Manet and Joan Miró on house motif of the painting doubles
similar topics, as well as Lajos Vajda’s as the rational framework of a free,
Szentendre paintings and Hungarian cosmic, musical, human world of
folk figures painted on ceramic jars. folkloric tradition, ancient melodies,
The clear construct of a house and and free imagination. The constant
the stylized flutist are framed by a combination of formal discipline and
window that opens up the space unruly playfulness are Korniss’s
of the picture not only to the blue signature feature. He has left a legacy
sky but also to a large field of in Hungarian painting from which
associations. The reductive image generations of artists and viewers
of a musician balancing the sun and have benefited.
the moon on his mustache evokes
the serenity of timeless antiquity, Éva Forgács
triumphant joy, and playful creativity.

48
Dezső Korniss
Big Red Composition
1950s
Distemper on paper

49
Endre Bálint
1914 ‒ 1986

Endre Bálint’s ability to create a Serbian Orthodox church, small With a sensitivity akin to that of Vajda
atmosphere and intonations that baroque Catholic churches, and he was attracted by the symbolism
are poignant and ironic are the a quiet, somewhat melancholy of simple objects. Shapes of a horse,
quintessential features of what is atmosphere. Its distinct local a cart wheel, or women enveloped
called the Szentendre School in character as well as its closeness to in head-scarves are to be found
Hungarian art. A sleepy Budapest made it an artists’ colony. in his paintings, evoking childhood
Mediterranean-like town a mere Many Szentendre motifs, such as memories as well as the sense
dozen kilometers north of Budapest, single story, pitch-roofed houses, of transience.
Szentendre attracted artists through- decorated window frames, and
out the 1930s and early 1940s ancient ornaments, along with the In 1945, when Bálint painted in the
with its picturesque views and poetic mood of the town, appear in neo-impressionist style, he was one
inexpensive housing. It is a small, the paintings of Lajos Vajda, Dezső of the founding members of the
densely built town perched on a Korniss, Endre Bálint, and others. post–World War II association of
hilltop sloping down to the Danube, Hungarian artists, the European
with narrow curving streets, Bálint learned from János Vaszary School. This group set out to
and Vilmos Aba-Novák, but his legitimize surrealism and abstraction
friendship with Lajos Vajda had
a decisive impact on his art.

Endre Bálint
Continuation I
1963
Oil on panel

50
in Hungarian art based on the legacy from the late 1940s and early 1950s Eager to utilize what he saw as the
of Lajos Vajda and Imre Ámos, who show the strong impact of the basic features of the small, rural
had died in the Holocaust, and to surrealist imagination and method, town, Bálint often used pieces of raw
integrate Hungarian art into the which he combined, starting in wood as his canvas to incorporate
European narrative. In their 1945 the mid-1950s, with the strong the shape and rustic texture
Manifesto they declared that the symbolism he encountered in as dynamic elements that were as
future belonged not to a Western Vajda’s drawings. Bálint also made much a part of the work of art as the
European or an Eastern European multilayered drawings and paintings painting. Having created his personal
art, but to the synthesis of both. in which the clearly contoured forms vocabulary, he often reduced his
They believed in a united culture of see through one another. Soon usual motifs to fragments, creating
the European continent and were he began making photomontages images of a veiled, shadowy world
committed to champion its new, in which his humor and self-irony halfway between memory and
unified artistic language. were at their best. A next step was reality. Continuation I (1963), painted
combining montage-building on a long, narrow wooden panel, is a
Bálint encountered surrealism when with painting. fine example, and indeed a synthesis
he visited Paris in 1947 and visited of Bálint’s Szentendre motifs, his
the Exposition Internationale du surrealist method, and his signature
Surréalisme in Paris. His paintings dreamy atmosphere.

Éva Forgács

51
Lili Ország
In Front of Wall
1955
Oil on canvas

52
Lili Ország
1926 ‒ 1978

Lili Ország’s oeuvre is a unique herself as a little girl in her Sunday matronly woman walks. The
treasure in Hungarian painting. best in front of a grim, forbidding red mannequins are wooden but
She is the strongest representative brick wall that dwarfs her, she used look fleshy, arrested in timeless
of surrealism in Hungarian art; this the wall and the shallow space it expectation, lending the picture an
idiom was her response to the envelops as a rich motif to express air of surreality. Many of Ország’s
unspeakable horrors she had infinite ramifications of meaning. The works, particularly her collages,
undergone and witnessed during image evokes the impenetrable wall, evoke the surrealism of Max Ernst.
the Holocaust. She had been in actual and imaginary, that surrounded In her lyrical intonations she may
the ghetto at her native Ungvár her no matter which way she turned. be closest to the Czech surrealist
(Uzhhorod, Ukraine) and imprisoned The wall also represents the finality, female artist, her contemporary,
in a brick factory. Only at the cruelty, exclusion, and imprisonment Toyen (Marie Cerminova).
last minute was she saved from that had threatened her. The clock on
deportation to Auschwitz. She hid the wall reminds the viewer of the After 1956 Ország abandoned the
in Budapest, using false documents, inexorable march of time, ticking wall motif and the surrealist idiom,
until the end of the war. When she away before the catastrophe hits. yet she reinterpreted the wall in her
became the student of István Szőnyi monumental series of paintings
and Róbert Berény at the Hungarian Ország often talked about her deadly representing ancient Hebrew letters
Academy of Fine Arts, she felt fear of being walled in, a fear that on crumbling stone walls. In the
compelled to abandon the serene continued to haunt her. Visualizing eternal survival of the messages
colors and balanced compositions the wall was, for her, an attempt to encoded in the letters she found a
they taught her because she found break away from that recurring night- symbolical hole in the wall that
them superficial and shallow in mare. In many of her paintings high opened it up for new and different
the light of the humiliation and walls enclose a labyrinth with a lone meanings. Her subsequent series
persecution she had suffered only a figure captive within, blindly trying to of paintings in which she replaced
few years earlier. She was seeking feel her way out. Ország did her best letters with integrated circuits show
personal imagery adequate to give to come to terms with the power of a shift in emphasis entirely to the
full expression to the horror she had systematic cruelty over the individual code, the sign system that she
experienced and the historic vision that she had experienced but did not used as a cipher to bridge the
she had developed. and could not comprehend. chasm between different generations
of different time periods assaulted
Around 1950 she found the central, Dry Stalk (1952) epitomizes Ország’s by history.
austere object that was able to desperate isolation, articulated much
express her anxiety, and it became like Caspar David Friedrich’s Lone In Front of Wall, Dry Stalk, and
the quintessential image in her early Tree (1822). As Mannequins (1955) Mannequins are eloquent
surrealist work from the 1950s: the indicates, Ország recognized Giorgio representatives of Ország’s early
wall. As in her painting In Front of de Chirico as a painter with whom surrealist period, and, as such,
Wall (1955), in which she represents she felt an affinity. Unlike Chirico’s precious rarities.
wooden constructs, however,
Ország’s mannequins are headless Éva Forgács
figurines dressed up in a dreamy
way for a never-to-happen ball,
isolated from the world of the living
by a screen toward which a living,

53
Lili Ország

Lili Ország
Mannequins
1955
Oil on canvas

54
Lili Ország
Dry Stalk
1952
Oil on canvas

55
László Lakner
“Secrets”:
My Tied-Up Poems
1970
Oil on canvas

56
László Lakner
1936 ‒

László Lakner was the first Lakner was the first to introduce and written word led him to represent
post-1956 painter in Hungary who interpret pop art in the Hungarian handwriting in oil on canvas, while
radically reinterpreted realism by context, using banal mass culture he also created conceptual objects
perfecting it. He turned it into a kind products such as advertisements using actual books. The graphic,
of exalted photo-realism in the early and images from illustrated maga- visual value of writing led him to
1960s, which almost preceded zines. Robert Rauschenberg’s works, paint the enlarged handwriting of
American photo-naturalism, or was which he saw at the 1964 Venice artists and poets who intrigued him,
at least contemporaneous with its Biennale, inspired many of his such as Paul Celan, Chaim Soutine,
beginnings. Lakner’s ideas, however, painted montage compositions. He Paul Klee, Kurt Schwitters, Marcel
originated not from fascination with incorporated press photos, political Duchamp, and others. He also
the photographic verisimilitude of posters, and details from Rembrandt painted books tightly tied with a
the oil painting and the subliminally paintings in his works. His particular rope so they hide their contents —
routine patterns of photo shots, admiration for Rembrandt accounted which, he suggests, would remain
but his repugnance with socialist for his updating some of Rembrandt’s concealed anyway. The first of this
realism. He chose to be absolutely motifs and methods and recontextu- series of paintings represented a
accurate, enlarge his motifs, and alizing them in 1960s Hungary. volume by philosopher Georg Lukács,
reveal the tiny details of texture in tied with and hanging from a rope.
order to demonstrate a truthfulness Lakner was among the first “Secrets”: My Tied-Up Poems (1970)
different from the officially pro- realist painters to exploit truthful is one work in this remarkable series
claimed “truth.” In a free combination representation in order to ridicule that includes the visual representa-
of representational precision and socialist realism by presenting its tion of books by philosophers and
idiosyncratic thinking, he achieved a favorite subject material — such as theorists, negotiating the territorial
particular blend of the real and the the Bolshevik revolution, socialist and theoretical gaps between the
surreal that was appropriately brigades, and others — in a mock- artist and the theorist.
labeled “surnatural” in Hungarian serious, ironic manner, inspiring the
“art talk” of the 1960s. His magnified early work of László Fehér, who Éva Forgács
renderings of a rope, a rose, and considers Lakner one of the most
human lips challenged the sense important sources of his inspiration.
of the real by their straightforward
explicitness and matter-of-fact Around 1970 Lakner started to paint
representation. book and text pictures, a motif that
dominated his work for about a
decade. His fascination with the

57
István Nádler
1938 ‒

István Nádler belongs to the great The formal discipline that Nádler Nádler was one of the participants
generation of the Hungarian imposed onto his painting entailed of the legendary 1968 Budapest
neo-avant-garde, coming of age as an ethical continuity and solidarity exhibition named, after its venue
artists in the early 1960s. Nádler’s with the suppressed currents of in an architectural planning office,
early work was impulsive and Hungarian art that were inherently Iparterv, the first striking survey of
colorful, but he soon became one internationalist and progressive in the new, post-1956, art in Hungary.
of the iconic figures of geometric outlook. Nádler’s work was more
abstraction. This was the main nuanced than most representatives But Nádler is not a political artist.
idiom of the historical Hungarian of this trend. When, in the late His work incessantly negotiates
avant-garde of the 1920s, the leading 1960s, he developed his blossom the emotive, personal element
figures of which, Lajos Kassák and motifs, it was a somewhat rounded, in the framework of the universal
Sándor Bortnyik, were still active geometric vocabulary evocative of laws of geometry and infinity. In the
and influential for most of the 1960s. Hungarian folk art and decorative mid-1980s he painted a great series
motifs in reference to a genuine,
nonmanipulated and nonmanipulative
artistic legacy. He posited this
approach as being at least as
progressive as the internationalism
of the avant-garde of the 1920s.

58
István Nádler
2001 No.1
2001
Oil on canvas

59
István Nádler

István Nádler
2001 No.2
2001
Oil on canvas

60
based on Kazimir Malevich’s Yellow In two compositions, 2001 No. 1
Square (1917–18) representing a (2001) and 2001 No. 2 (2001), Nádler
square shape shown in steep has conveyed the poetic beauty of
foreshortening as it is turned into the the juxtaposition of two clearly
depth of space so that it reads as a defined colors and the parallel
triangle. But it is, more importantly, strokes the brush leaves in the act
a liberated form of geometric of applying pigment to the canvas.
origin, at once one form and yet The textured blue background, a hue
again something else, filled with reminiscent of the Yves Klein blue,
dancing brush strokes, musicality, superimposed by a black rectangle
rhythm, and emotional impact. This is yet overwritten by the shiny
series spelled the end of Nádler’s horizontal strokes of black matter.
hard-edge period, and his subse- These gestures-against-the-rule
quent work has been intensely paintings exude the solemnity of
musical, colorful, and lively textured harmony attained when form, color,
brushwork. Nádler has been studying gesture, matter, and light are
the conflict of the gesture and the brought into balance.
perfect form, examining rectangles
and triangles exposed to impulsive Éva Forgács
lines, spontaneous motions,
and colors.

61
Károly Kelemen
1948 ‒

Károly Kelemen has been an with graphite, which lends them childhood teddy bear in his painting
important player in several different another touch of classicism. “The Ironing Bear or Life Is Hard (1985),
art movements — first in the myth as ready-made,” to use his own a paraphrase of Picasso’s Ironing
Hungarian neo-avant-garde of the words, is Kelemen’s subject. He uses Woman (1904) in which the woman
1970s and later in the postmodern the original images as ready-mades is replaced by a huge toy bear
current of the 1980s called New and proves them to be something painted in cubist style but highly
Sensibility in Hungary. else with a Magritte-like “this is not colored. He continued to challenge
a pipe” treatment. He makes a the icons of the classic avant-garde,
Kelemen’s late 1970s erasure perfect graphite drawing that he for example combining Picasso’s
pictures hit the Budapest art scene “overwrites” with gestures of Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907)
with a fury. Unlike the totally erased erasure. The viewer then gets the and Cézanne’s Mont Sainte-Victoire
Willem de Kooning picture, Kelemen sum of these actions as a new, (1902–04), and he used works of
used erasure as an added motif, so third image. The formula is the same classical antiquity and images of
that he multiplied both the meaning as that of the collage in Sergei playing cards as ready-mades as well.
and the physical layers of the Eisenstein’s definition: 1 + 1 = 3.
pictures. Photo-portraits of Marcel Tallow-Dream (2000) is one if the
Duchamp, Joseph Beuys, Jackson Kelemen belonged to the group finest pieces of Kelemen’s work.
Pollock, László Moholy-Nagy, and of young artists — students or new Here he evokes the legend of the
works of other iconic masters of graduates — who gathered in the German artist Josef Beuys, who
the avant-garde were overlaid with Rózsa presszó (Rose Cafe), was said to have been saved by
sweeping gestures of eraser-work organizing performances and Crimean Tartars after his plane
that removed parts of the original exhibitions from about March crashed during World War II.
drawing. Partly appropriation art, 1975 on. He was one of the The Tartars, he said, wrapped him in
partly passionate negation, the neo-figuratives who reconsidered fat and felt to keep him warm, and
construction and the deconstruction artistic representation. these two materials became Beuys’s
of the image were inseparable in recurring topics in memory of this
Kelemen’s new body of work. Kelemen, as he often stated, was self-mythologized event.
taken not so much with the
Kelemen paid tribute to the classics philosophy as with the material and In his signature mix of nostalgia
of twentieth century—modernity technical aspects of his works. and irony, theoretical inquiry and
and its myths—when portraying One of the central figures of the craftsmanship, emotional charge
them in the hyper-realist style. But post-Iparterv generation, a group of and humor, appropriation and
at the same time he vehemently young abstract and conceptual artists originality, Kelemen presents a new
negated them by taking out parts of who first showed their work in expressivity and a reassessment
the portraits with his soft eraser. 1968, he continued to use quotations of the recent past.
These pictures are drawn on canvas and references, and indeed, he
appropriated other elements into Éva Forgács
his paintings throughout the 1980s.
For example, he deliberately blended
the cubist Pablo Picasso with the
pre-cubist one and added his own

62
Károly Kelemen
Tallow-Dream
2000
Graphite,
lacquer on canvas

63
László Fehér
Brigade Excursion
(Genre Paintings II)
1979
Oil on fiberboard

64
László Fehér
1953 ‒

László Fehér burst into the art leadership of János Kádár. Fehér’s Radically limiting his palette in the
scene when, after a few minor early paintings exude the hidden mid-1980s, he evoked the childhood
presentations, he had his first solo emotions, silent dissent, and photographs taken from his family
show at Műcsarnok (Hall of the Arts), suppressed desires of people living album in paintings reduced to black
one of the most important venues under totalitarian rule. His photo- and white and tones of gray. Some
of contemporary art in Budapest, naturalist paintings differ from the are purple and yellow, others are
in 1988. American pieces of the same style black and yellow with shadowy,
and time in their political awareness transparent figures, painted as mere
Reminiscent of photo-naturalism and meaning. They blend compassion contours, passing through them.
but reductive and highly personal, and sarcastic criticism. During the He omits most of the details of the
Fehér’s paintings exploited not just years when Fehér was coming of original photograph, leaving only
photography but also the particular age as an artist, realism was the the basics of the environment
vulnerability and accidental character dictum, so he offered realism, but serving as the background for his
of family snapshots. He used old with a twist. Instead of mandatory transparent figures. Fehér achieved
photographs representing sites of optimism, Fehér’s early photo- a filmlike effect in this way, giving
city life, family outings, himself as naturalist paintings exhibit the the impression that the figures,
a child, his parents, or other groups, inconvenient truth of poverty, decay, rendered as outlines, the likes of
such as socialist brigades. Brigade and provincialism, but also with an which we see in Smoking Man
Excursions (1979) captures one eye for the grotesque. In addition (1998) and Black Vase (1998) have
of these groups on an outing. to his Hungarian predecessors only a transitory presence. The
These brigades were factory teams László Lakner and László Méhes, enigma of photography, as the
organized following the Soviet this period of his painting brings to representation of present and past
model, obliged to be upbeat about mind Ilya Kabakov’s mock-socialist-
work and to maintain the spirit of realist works that sympathize with
cooperation and working morale in the vulnerable small person who
Communist Hungary. seeks happiness and fulfillment
under circumstances that would not
Born in the year— in fact, the warrant either.
month— of Joseph Stalin’s death,
Fehér matured in the era of a some- Breaking another taboo, Fehér
what benign dictatorship under the also used Jewish themes and the
memory of the Holocaust in images
that were metaphoric as well as
photo-realist. One of the outstanding
works of this period is Diaspora
(1982), the photo-naturalist
representation of a piece of matzo
broken into pieces.

65
László Fehér

at the same time, turn these very Heller, and others, Fehér has
literal paintings into metaphors, as created an impressive portrait gallery
the transient figures seem to walk of personalities who have made an
through life itself, not simply the impact on the time in which they live.
actual scene.
Although he has frequently changed
Consistent with the concept of the basic color or the style in his
transience Fehér has used the motif paintings as he continues his
of stairs throughout his career. The explorations, Fehér has developed
mystery of moving from unknown a consistent body of work. One
depth to unknown height returns in of the most prolific artists of his
his Self-Portrait with Staircase (2001) generation, he has produced a
a synthesis of the abstract and the powerful oeuvre that is uniquely
photographically real. Here Fehér individual in motifs and intonation,
uses an unusual vantage point, even as it evokes the deeper and
showing the white figure of a man darker collective experience.
humbly climbing the white stairs in
the abstract space of blackness,
opening up a mystical dimension
within the style of photo-realism.

In his series of portraits, which


include one of Ambassador Nancy G.
Brinker (2004), philosopher Ágnes

66
László Fehér
Black Vase
1998
Oil on canvas

67
László Fehér

László Fehér
Smoking Man
1998
Pastel on paper

68
László Fehér
Self Portrait with Staircase
2001
Acrylic on canvas

69
László Fehér

László Fehér
Portrait of Nancy Brinker
2004
Oil on canvas

70
Artists Biographies
Vilmos Aba-Novák Endre Bálint

Born Budapest March 15, 1894; Born Budapest October 14, 1914;
died Budapest September 29, 1941. died Budapest May 3, 1986.

Vilmos Aba-Novák enrolled in the Bálint was son of the well-known


Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts in journalist and literary critic, Aladár
1912 to train to be an art teacher. Bálint. He studied advertising design
After he had served in World War I at the Budapest School of Decorative
he studied printmaking with Viktor Arts, 1930–34. After that he studied
Olgyai. He had his first solo show at the private painting school of
at the Ernst Museum in 1922. János Vaszary and Vilmos Aba-Novák.
Beginning in 1928 he worked in From 1936 on he spent several
Rome for three years, having been summers at Szentendre and
awarded the prestigious Rome befriended Lajos Vajda, who had a
stipend by the Hungarian government, major impact on his painting. In
and became an emblematic 1945 he was one of the founding
representative of the neo-classicist members of the European School,
Rome School, the Hungarian version an artists’ society uniting most of
of the novecento style. He had the Hungarian artists in the wake
successful shows in Budapest as of World War II into a program of
well as Milan and sold many of grafting progressive tendencies like
his paintings to Italian collectors. surrealism, constructivism, and
In 1935 he visited the United States abstraction onto Hungarian art and
and spent a few months in New York integrating Hungarian art into the
City. Upon his return to Hungary European narrative of progressive
he accepted many ecclesiastic art. He traveled to Paris in 1947
commissions, some of them large and was influenced by the surrealist
murals. He was successful abroad, exhibition at the Galerie Meaght,
too: he won the Grand Prix at the which influenced his subsequent
1936 Paris World Fair. From 1939 on paintings and photomontages.
he was a professor at the Hungarian
Academy of Fine Arts and was one He left Hungary after the 1956
of the officially supported artists revolution. Between 1957 and 1961
and a celebrated mural painter of he lived in Paris. In 1958 Édition
interwar Hungary. Since his death, Labergerie published the Jerusalem
several retrospective exhibitions of Bible with more than one thousand
his works have been organized in illustrations by Bálint. The 1960s
Budapest, Warsaw, Prague, Kosice, was Bálint’s most prolific period.
and elsewhere. He exhibited widely in Hungary and
Europe, and besides his painterly
work he published several volumes
of poetry and his memoirs.

74
Róbert Berény Béla Czóbel

Born Budapest March 18, 1887; Born Budapest September 4, 1883;


died Budapest September 10, 1953. died Budapest January 29, 1976.

Róbert Berény was a self-taught Béla Czóbel began studying painting


artist who took classes irregularly with the Hungarian artist Béla Iványi-
before his first trip to Paris in 1905. Grünwald in the summer of 1902,
He studied at the Académie Julian for then studied at the Munich Academy
a mere three months, and exhibited of Fine Arts, and at the Académie
four of his paintings at the 1906 Julian in Paris with Jean-Paul
Salon d’Automne in Paris. The Laurens. He exhibited as early as
following year he showed six works 1903 at both the Salon de Champs-
at the Salon des Indépendants, in de-Mars in Paris and the Nemzeti
which he participated in 1908 as Szalon in Budapest. In Paris he
well. Upon his return to Budapest befriended Henri Matisse, André
he represented a blend of colorism Derain, Maurice de Vlaminck, Pablo
and Cézannesque structure. In 1909 Picasso, Georges Braque, Amedeo
he joined the Károly Kernstok-led Modigliani, and many other artists.
modernist group The Seekers In 1905 he exhibited at the landmark
(renamed The Eight in 1911) and Salon d’Automne along with the
participated in the group’s exhibitions. fauves and became the leading
During the Hungarian Commune in artist among the Hungarian post-
1919 he designed the famous poster impressionists working at the
that called people to arms in the Nagybánya Artists’ Colony in
defense of the Commune. He had northeastern Hungary (Baia Mare,
to emigrate after the defeat of the Romania). He had his first one-man
Commune, and lived in Berlin until show at the Galerie Berthe Weil in
the general amnesty in 1926. He Paris in 1907. He continued to work
could not find work while in Berlin, in Hungary, spent his summers
but composed musical pieces and at Károly Kernstok’s house at
wrote concert reviews. Upon his Nyergesújfalu, and was co-founder
return to Hungary he was not only with him of the group The Seekers
appreciated as a painter but also as in 1909. Between 1914 and 1919
a graphic designer. His commercial Czóbel lived in the Netherlands,
posters were very popular. In 1948 then moved to Berlin, where he
he was appointed professor at the contacted the members of the former
Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts in Die Brücke, and joined the Freie
Budapest, and he received several Sezession. In 1925 he moved to
state prizes and awards.

75
László Fehér

Paris and had a retrospective Born Székesfehérvár March 17, 1953.


exhibition at the Galerie Bing in
1930. Meanwhile he was active in Fehér studied at the Hungarian
organizing the KÚT (New Society Academy of Fine Arts between
of Artists) in Hungary, had several 1971 and 1976 with Lajos Szentiványi
retrospectives shows in his native and Ignác Kokas. His early photo-
city, and was awarded the most naturalist paintings singled him out
prestigious prizes. He participated not only as a great talent but also
in the Venice Biennale for the first as a new voice, both lyrical and
time in 1934, exhibited in New York documentary. He found his signature
in 1927, and in 1936 at the Gallery reductive, symbolic, photo-based
Brummer. He went to Szentendre realist style in the mid-1980s. He
in 1939, and after World War II was the first artist after World War II
he spent the summers there and to break the taboo of Jewish subject
the winters in Paris. In 1945 he matter and the Holocaust in
joined the European School, a society Hungarian painting. Fehér rapidly
of progressive Hungarian artists, rose to international recognition.
and exhibited with the group as well He participated in a great number
as at the Galerie des Beaux-Arts, of exhibitions and has had numerous
Katia Granoff, Galerie Drouet, and solo shows worldwide. In Hungary
Galerie Zak in Paris, the Galerie Moos he was recognized with the Kossuth
at Geneva, and leading Budapest Prize in 2000. The many other prizes
venues. Czóbel’s paintings are in he has won include the MAOE
many public and private collections Professional Prize at the Fifth
all over the world. He was recognized National Pastel Biennale, and the
in Hungary by several high state Prize for Hungarian Jewish Culture,
awards and prizes. 2003. Fehér lives in Budapest and
Tác, Hungary.

76
Jeno˝ Gábor Béla Kádár

Born Pécs May 23, 1893; Born Budapest June 14, 1877;
died Pécs September 1, 1968. died Budapest January 22, 1956.

Jenő Gábor studied at the Budapest Béla Kádár traveled to Paris and
Academy of Fine Arts with Tivadar Munich in 1896, and upon his return
Zemplényi. From 1919 on he worked to Budapest enrolled in the
as an art teacher in his native town, Mintarajziskola (Pattern Drawing
then, in the 1940s he lived in Szeged School) that was noted for its high
in southern Hungary. professional standards. He won a
scholarship in 1911, exhibited his
In 1926 and 1937 he made trips work in 1921 in Budapest, then
to Paris and in 1931 to Berlin. He traveled to Berlin. He had a solo
had solo exhibitions at the Nemzeti exhibition in Der Sturm Gallery and
Szalon in Budapest in 1939, in the participated at a number of group
Ernst Museum in 1959, and a major shows there. His works were
retrospective show in Pécs in 1971. included in the Société Anonyme’s
1926 International Exhibition of
Modern Art at the Brooklyn Museum.
In 1928 he traveled to the United
States as one of the Der Sturm
Gallery’s artists.He was member
of progressive societies of artists in
Hungary such as KÚT (New Society
of Artists), and UME (Association
of New Artists). He adopted his
signature decorative style in the early
1930s and had much recognition and
a wide audience. In the 1950s he
returned to realism and used socialist
themes as subject matter.

77
Károly Kelemen André Kertész

Born Győr 1948. Born Budapest July 2,1894;


died New York City,
Károly Kelemen attended the September 28, 1985.
Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts
in Budapest, 1970–74. Beginning André Kertész is known as one of
in 1975 he participated in the Rózsa the pioneers of modern photography.
(Rose) group (named after the café Even though he had worked at the
where they regularly met). In 1982 Budapest Stock Exchange and
he opened the Rabinec Gallery served in the Austro-Hungarian
(later renamed the Rabinext Gallery) army during World War I, his camera
in his own studio in Budapest’s was always at hand. In 1925 he
Falk Miksa Street, which became left Hungary for Paris to pursue
a meeting point and the site of photography and changed his birth
activity for young artists in the city. name of Andor to André. In 1936
In 1994 he was awarded a stipend alarmed by the escalating tensions
to attend the Hungarian Academy within Europe, Kertész left for the
in Rome. Two years later he was United States. For almost thirty
the guest of Yoko Ono and Samuel years he worked for the Condé Nast
Havadtőy in the Ono-Lennon Studio publishing firm, doing fashion and
in New York City. In 1998 he was architectural photography. Only in
artist in residence at the Villa Romana the 1960s and in his retirement
in Florence. Kelemen lives in did he return to the world of fine
Szentendre near Budapest. art photography that was his first
love. A solo show at the Museum
of Modern Art shortly afterward
reestablished his position and
reputation. Kertész is considered
a classic in modern photography.

78
Dezso˝ Korniss

Born Beszterce [Bistrija, Romania] Society of Szentendre Painters. In


December 1, 1908; 1930 he traveled to France and the
died Budapest August 17, 1984. Netherlands. Later he worked with
his friend Lajos Vajda at Szentendre
Dezső Korniss studied painting and and Szigetmonostor, collecting and
drawing 1921–22 in the private organizing motifs of folk ornaments.
school of Artúr Podolini-Volkman. At Having served in World War II and
fifteen he traveled to the Netherlands, been a prisoner of war, he joined the
where he was profoundly impressed European School in Budapest, 1945,
with the work of Johannes Vermeer, and was a leading member of the
Frans Hals, and Piet Mondrian. group. In 1947–48 he was professor
He became the student of István of the Hungarian Academy of
Csók and János Vaszary at the Decorative Arts. Dismissed in 1948,
Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts he supported himself by coloring
between 1925 and 1929. In 1930 puppets and creating commercial
he was a founding member of the posters. Between 1963 and 1969
Society of New Progressive Artists he worked in the Pannonia Film
in Budapest; in 1930–1931 he joined Studio in Budapest, which specialized
the Munka Kör (Work Circle) led by in animation. In 1958 he had a
the leader of the Hungarian avant- one-man show in the Netherlands
garde Lajos Kassák. From 1929 on that was followed by retrospectives
he was member of KÚT (New in Hungary at Székesfehérvár,
Society of Artists) as well as the Hatvan, Szentendre, and Budapest.
Korniss has had a major impact on
younger generations of artists and
was invited to participate in many
of their exhibitions.

79
László Lakner László Moholy-Nagy

Born Budapest April 15, 1936. Born Bácsborsód July 20, 1895;
died Chicago November 24, 1946.
László Lakner studied at the
Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts László Moholy-Nagy went to
with the much respected Aurél school at Szeged, the industrial
Bernáth, whose students carried on and intellectual center of southern
and creatively altered his artistic Hungary. He started to write poetry
legacy. Lakner has participated in and published a few poems in local
exhibitions since 1958 in Hungary journals in 1913. He moved to
and abroad. His many study trips Budapest in the same year, began
took him to Italy, Austria, and to study law, but was drafted in
Germany. He was awarded many 1916. He started to draw as a
grants, and in 1976 he won the soldier. He was wounded, was taken
Paula Modersohn-Becker Prize and care of a military hospital in Odessa,
settled in Germany. In 1977 he won then returned to Budapest, where
the Prize of German Art Critics, in he exhibited some of his work.
1979 he was invited to teach at the During the 1919 Hungarian Commune
University of Essen, in 1979–80 he he signed the Manifesto of the
taught in the Art History Department Hungarian Activists, so he had reason
of the University of Berlin. In 1980–81 to fear retaliation after the defeat
he was awarded a grant by the of the Commune. He joined the
P.S.1 Foundation of the Museum Hungarian activists in Vienna, later
of Modern Art and spent the year settling in Berlin. In 1923 Walter
in New York City. Since 1982 he has Gropius invited him to join the faculty
been a professor at the University of the Bauhaus, where Moholy-Nagy
of Essen. In 1999 he was awarded taught various courses until 1928.
with the Kossuth Prize in his He met his first wife Lucia Schultz
native Hungary. He has had major in Berlin in 1920. She taught him
exhibitions in leading European art photography; it became one of
museums. Lakner lives in Essen the most important media for
and Berlin. Moholy-Nagy. Between 1926 and
1928, he was editor and designer

80
Mihály Munkácsy

of the Bauhaus Books series as well Born Munkács [Mukachevo, Ukraine]


as the Bauhaus Journal, published February 20, 1844;
Painting, Photography, Film (1925), died Endenich, Germany
From Material to Architecture (1927), May 1, 1900.
and contributed to the Bauhaus
Stage (1924). He participated in the Mihály Munkácsy was born into a
dynamic German art life as artist, lower-middle-class family of German
teacher, stage designer, and author origin. Orphaned at an early age,
of many articles. In 1929 he shot his he became a carpentry apprentice
first film Marseille, an Old Harbour, and taught himself to paint. In 1865,
followed by Black-White-Gray (1932), he got help from several patrons
and Metropolitan Gypsies (1932). He and went to study in Vienna, then
met his second wife Sybille Pietzsch; in Munich where, in contrast to
they were married in 1933. From dominant traditions of history
Nazi Germany they fled to the painting, he produced peasant
Netherlands, then in 1935 to England, genres. In 1867, he traveled to Paris
where he worked as a set designer and became strongly impressed by
with Alexander Korda and published the work of Gustave Courbet and
three photo albums. In 1937 the plein-air paintings of the Barbizon
Walter Gropius recommended that School. Between 1868 and 1871,
Moholy-Nagy be the director of the while continuing his studies in
New Bauhaus in Chicago. After his Düsseldorf, he completed his first
death the institution was reorganized, large-scale work, The Convict, which
renamed, and has survived as part won the Gold Medal of the Paris
of the Illinois Institute of Technology. Salon in 1870. Encouraged by this
unexpected success, he moved to
Paris in the fall of 1871 and stayed
there for the rest of his life. In 1874
he married the widow of the baron
de Marches. After 1875 he turned

81
István Nádler

to landscapes, where the influence Born Visegrád November 29, 1938.


of the Barbizon painters is visible.
From 1881 he painted dramatic After graduating from the Hungarian
religious and historical subjects Academy of Fine Arts, István Nádler
in a highly dramatic style, including traveled to France on various grants
the Hungarian Conquest (Hungarian 1965 to 1972. He was awarded a
Parliament) and Apotheosis of the stipend by the Folkwang Museum,
Renaissance (ceiling of the staircase Essen in 1974 and 1975–79. He has
in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, been a member of the Budapesti
Vienna). He was also highly success- Műhely, an association of prominent
ful with his paintings representing neo-avant-garde artists including,
the life of the rich in Paris. When among others, Ilona Keserü, Imre
he became a wealthy celebrity in Bak, and Tamás Hencze. In 1982 he
Paris, he supported young artists. received the Special Prize of the
Munkácsy died in a mental hospital Jury at the International Festival of
in Endenich, Germany, in 1900. Painting at Cagnes-sur-Mer. In 1985
His work is represented in the he received the First Prize of the
museums of Vienna, Philadelphia, Fourth European Biennale of Prints
Chicago, and in New York’s in Baden-Baden. Nádler was awarded
Metropolitan Museum of Art. with a great number of grants in,
among other places, Rome, Lisbon,
Zug, and Florence. In 2001 he was
awarded the Kossuth Prize, the
highest official recognition by the
Republic of Hungary.

82
József Nemes-Lampérth Lili Ország

Born Budapest 1891; Born Ungvár [Uzhhorod, Ukraine]


died Sátoraljaújhely 1924. August 8, 1926;
died Budapest October 1, 1978.
József Nemes-Lampérth enrolled
first in the Hungarian Academy of Lili Ország wanted to be a painter
Decorative Arts, then the Hungarian from the age of twelve. In spring
Academy of Fine Arts where he 1944 she was locked up with the
studied with István Bosznay and Jews of her native town in the local
Tivadar Zemplényi. He refused to brick factory awaiting deportation.
obey his masters and made stylized She escaped and spent the rest of
rather than realistic pictures. He was the war hiding in Budapest. After
forced to leave the Academy. He the war she enrolled in the Hungarian
went to Nagybánya and then to Academy of Fine Arts and studied
Paris in 1913. World War I interrupted with István Szőnyi and Róbert Berény,
his studies. He was drafted and 1945–1950. In 1953 she met the
wounded. He joined the avant-garde painter Endre Bálint, who was the
circle of Lajos Kassák, published first to recognize her potential as
many of his drawings in his journal a significant artist and to encourage
Ma, participated in the Exhibition her to follow her vision. Throughout
of Young Artists in Budapest, 1917, most of her life Ország earned her
and the Ma exhibition in 1918. living as a puppet designer for the
The Budapest Museum of Fine Arts Hungarian State Puppet Theater. At
purchased some of his works in the same time she was developing
1918. He worked as an art teacher a considerable body of work. Her
at the Proletarian Art Studio during travels to Bulgaria, Prague, Jerusalem,
the 1919 Commune, so he had to Naples, and Pompeii inspired her to
leave after the defeat of the incorporate ancient forms, relics,
Commune. He traveled to Vienna signs, and writings into her work.
and then Berlin, where he participated She had many important exhibitions
in an exhibition at the Fritz Gurlitt in Hungary as well as in Rome
Gallery. He lived in great poverty, (1969), Paris (1970), Warsaw (1972),
but the Swedish art collector Gustaf Federal Republic of Germany (1976,
Konrad Ekström invited him to 1978), and Tel Aviv (1977).
his estate in Sweden so he could
work free of financial worries.
Nemes-Lampérth’s mental health
collapsed and he was obliged to
return to Hungary, where he was
hospitalized and diagnosed with
manic depression. During his time
at the asylum he had few periods of
active work; he died in the asylum.

83
Pál Szinyei Merse Imre Szobotka

Born Szinyeújfalu [Chminianska Nová Born Zalaegerszeg 1890;


Ves, Slovakia] July 4, 1845; died Budapest 1961.
died Jernye [Jarovnice, Slovakia],
February 2, 1920. Imre Szobotka studied at the
Hungarian Academy of Decorative
Pál Szinyei Merse was born into a Arts, 1905–10 and made study
noble Hungarian family of respected trips to Venice, Rome, and Paris.
lineage. He enrolled in the Munich In 1911 he traveled to Transylvania
Academy of Fine Arts in 1864, where and exhibited the paintings he had
he was trained to be a highly skilled made there in his first one-man
painter and draftsman. He was show. The time in Paris, to which
taught the academic style that he he returned, had a decisive impact
rejected. He was more interested in on his painting. He enrolled in
the works of his more-free-spirited the Académie de la Palette, where
contemporaries Gustave Courbet and he met Jean Metzinger and Henri
Arnold Böcklin, as well as in the real Le Fauconnier. In 1913 and 1914
potential of color. He caused dismay he exhibited at the Salon des
with his colorful, serene, plein-air Indépendants. When World War I
paintings, particularly Picnic in May broke out he was interned in
(1873). It was dismissed by the Bretagne (Brittany) as an enemy
rigidly traditional and authoritative alien. He returned to Hungary in
Hungarian Academy. This failure 1919, and became an important
discouraged him, and he ceased representative of modern art.
to work as an artist. He retired to He was a founding member of
his estate and married. Painting KÚT (New Society of Artists) and
became an occasional pastime. regularly exhibited his works.
He took up painting again in 1882, His cubist period is still considered
but he was again unsuccessful. his best.
The Academy would not allow the
free use of natural light, a choice
of subject matter, and color. Szinyei
Merse was only first understood
and appreciated after 1896 when
the younger generation discovered
him and saw him as their forerunner.
In 1897 he was elected to the
Hungarian Parliament. In 1905 he
became director of the Hungarian
Academy of Fine Arts. He
showed his work in retrospective
exhibitions in Hungary and abroad
to considerable success.

84
István Szonyi
˝

Born Újpest [Budapest] In 1924 he married and moved to


January 17, 1894; Zebegény, a picturesque village on
died Zebegény August 31, 1960. the curve of the Danube, where he
lived and worked for the rest of his
István Szőnyi attended the Free life. The landscape and the people
Evening School of the Budapest of Zebegény became his signature
Academy of Fine Arts, where subjects. He became a celebrated
he befriended Béla Uitz and János painter, winning awards and stipends
Kmetty. In 1913 he became a regular including the prestigious grant of
student at the Academy, first training the Hungarian Academy in Rome
as an art teacher, then as a painter in 1928. In the early 1930s he was,
with Károly Ferenczy and later with along with his friends Aurél Bernáth
István Réti. In the summer of 1914 and Róbert Berény, a central figure
he won a stipend to reside and paint of the Gresham Circle, a group of
at the Nagybánya Artists’ Colony. figurative painters whose program
He was drafted and served in was to revive the art of Szinyei and
World War I, but was discharged post-impressionism and keep art
because of an illness and returned to insulated from politics. During the
Nagybánya to paint in 1917 and 1918. German occupation of Hungary
During the 1919 Commune he was Szőnyi helped several Jews offering
active as the leader of the art division them shelter at great personal risk.
of the Young Worker’s Union and During the siege of Budapest,
was consequently excluded from 1944-45, a bomb hit his studio,
the Academy. However, he could destroying many of his works.
participate in art exhibitions. In 1920 He was professor at the Hungarian
he won the award of the newly Academy of Fine Arts beginning
formed Szinyei Merse Pál Society, in 1938. After World War II his art
and had his first solo exhibition in was recognized with a number of
1921. He participated at the first state awards. His home in Zebegény
KÚT (New Society of Artists) is now a museum dedicated to
exhibition in 1924, and was generally his work.
regarded as the member of the
young generation who would carry
on this artistic tradition.

85
Béla Uitz Lajos Vajda

Born Temes-Mehela, Romania Born Zalaegerszeg August 1908;


March 8, 1887; died Budapest September 7, 1941.
died Budapest January 26, 1972.
Lajos Vajda enrolled in the
Béla Uitz was trained as a locksmith Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts in
in his childhood like his future friend 1927, where he studied with István
and brother-in-law Lajos Kassák. He Csók until 1930. In 1928 Vajda,
enrolled in the Hungarian Academy as an ambitious representative of
of Decorative Arts to study mural the younger generation, joined the
painting in 1907, but transferred to Munka Kör (Work Circle) led by
the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts Lajos Kassák. The younger artists
in 1908, where he studied with clashed with Kassák, who was
Ede Balló and Károly Ferenczy. His unwilling to accept their bias against
peers were János Kmetty, József his somewhat rigid version of
Nemes-Lampérth, Péter Dobrovits, constructivism. Vajda and Dezső
and Andor Erős. In 1912 he married Korniss traveled to Paris where they
a sister of Kassák. From 1915 he studied with Fernand Léger. During
regularly published articles in his four-year stay in Paris, Vajda
Kassák’s journals, A Tett (The Action) encountered not only cubism
and Ma (Today). Eventually Uitz and surrealism but also Russian
became the co-editor of Ma. He constructivism. He took an interest
was active during the 1919 Hungarian in film, photography, and collage,
Commune as director of a proletarian
school of artists and as a painter and
poster designer. After the defeat
of the Commune he was arrested,
but was allowed to leave for Vienna.
He also lived in Berlin and Paris until
his 1926 departure for the Soviet
Union where he remained until
1970. In 1968 the Hungarian National
Gallery in Budapest organized a
retrospective exhibition of his works.
Shortly afterward he returned
to Hungary.

86
János Vaszary

and made a series of photomon- Born Kaposvár 1867;


tages. Back in Hungary Vajda met his died Budapest 1939.
future wife Julia Richter, a painter. He
lived and worked in Szentendre in János Vaszary studied with the
great poverty. In 1937 he and Korniss famous nineteenth-century
embarked on an ambitious program Hungarian romanticist Bertalan
to collect and organize motifs of Székely. In 1887 he enrolled in
Hungarian peasant art, which they the Munich Academy of Fine Arts,
began at the neighboring village of where he was most interested
Szigetmonostor. In his subsequent in modernist tendencies. In 1899
painterly work Vajda used Hungarian, he started to study at the Académie
Serbian, and Jewish motifs juxta- Julian in Paris. He designed
posed or layered in his compositions. tapestries in art nouveau style
His work was a synthesis of and painted realist pictures around
surrealism and constructivism, 1900, but became increasingly
regional and European, the individual influenced by impressionism. In
and cultural. In his last years Vajda 1920 he was appointed professor
suffered from tuberculosis. As a at the Hungarian Academy of Fine
Jew, he was repeatedly drafted for Arts in Budapest. He developed
forced labor service, and he was his signature sketchy and colorful
unable to fight the disease. The style reminiscent of Raoul Dufy
retrospective exhibition of his work and Kees van Dongen. He joined
at the Alkotás Művészház, a major the KÚT (New Society of Artists)
venue in Budapest in 1943, revealed and was a founding member of
Vajda as the most original, visionary, UME (Association of New Artists).
and powerful artist of his generation. Having won several prizes in
He is now recognized as one of the Hungary, he was awarded with
most important painters of twentieth- the Gold Medal in Genoa in 1929.
century Hungarian art.

87
1 2
Contributors

1 2
Éva Forgács Steven Mansbach István Rozsics

Éva Forgács is an art historian and Steven Mansbach, educated at István Rozsics, educated in Pécs in
critic. She graduated from the Cornell and Princeton universities, is English and Hungarian literature, is a
Eötvös Loránd University and earned professor of the history of twentieth- historian, consultant, and art dealer.
her PhD in art history at the century art, University of Maryland. He worked for Sotheby’s Hungary.
Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He is the author of many scholarly He then acquired one of Hungary’s
She was a professor on the faculty books, articles, exhibition catalogues, oldest rare bookstores, founded in
of László Moholy-Nagy University and essays that examine the genesis 1896. In 1997 he founded István
in Budapest, and now is adjunct and reception of modern art and Rozsics Gallery, an important forum
professor at the Art Center College architecture. For the last thirty years for Hungarian contemporary art. He
of Design, Pasadena, California. he has focused his scholarly work has written about Baron Lajos
Forgács is the author of many essays on the history, functions, and Hatvany, the Hungarian writer and art
on Hungarian and Central European meaning of modernism in Central patron. He has served on the boards
art in a number of anthologies and and Eastern Europe. He has taught of art and charitable foundations and
journals such as ArtForum, Third art history at universities in Europe, was chair of the Supervisory Board of
Text, Centropa, The Structurist, Africa, and the United States, the the Friends of the Budapest Museum
ARTMargins, and Hungarian Art. Pratt Institute, and the Free University of Fine Arts. He is an expert on
She is also active as a curator and of Berlin, among them. He was Hungarian restitution cases. Since
a critic and writes on issues of associate dean of the Center for the beginning of the Nancy G.
contemporary art. Her books include Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, Brinker Collection, Rozsics has been
The Bauhaus Idea and Bauhaus National Gallery of Art, Washington, its senior curator.
Politics (1995) and monographs on D.C., at various times, 1987–97.
László Fehér and other Hungarian Among his many publications, he is
artists. She has edited and co-edited perhaps best known for Modern Art
volumes such as the ground-breaking in Eastern Europe: From the Baltic
Between Worlds: A Source Book to the Balkans, ca. 1890–1939
of Central European Avant-Gardes, (Cambridge University Press, 1999).
1910–1930 (2002).

90
Michael Ennis Additional Project
Curators Supervisor

Michael Ennis, educated in Oxford Ágnes Berecz Munira Alhad Hyder-Adam


in Politics, Philosophy and Economics Sam Albert Publications Manager
is an exhibition specialist and The Nancy G. Brinker Collection
independent curator. He worked for
Sotheby’s London before founding
his own company, Group Arte in
1995. He has organized numerous
exhibitions, including Masterpieces
from the Dulwich Picture Gallery
Collection, Madrid and Bilboa,
Spain (1996) and Highlights from
the Van Gogh Foundation, United
States (2000), among others. He
has assisted a variety of museums
with exhibition funding, notably The
Phillips Collection for its exhibition,
European and American Painting
and Sculpture 1760–1960 from the
Smith College Collection (2003).
He is currently Director of Exhibitions
for the Nancy G. Brinker Collection.

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