From Mednyánszky to Barcsay | Best of Diploma 2011 | Ideas in Lines – A Show by Tibor Kaján | Beheaded – In Search of the Dracula Myth – A Show by Ádám Géczy
Gábor Rieder: From Mednyánszky to Barcsay
The Villa Vaszary at Balatonfüred has on loan some classical Modern Hungarian masters from the Kecskemét Gallery providing a refreshing cultural pastime for those vacationing at the shores of Lake Balaton.
Lake Balaton is taking cultural tourism more and more seriously these days. The lakeside town of Siófok is deleting its disco-heyday with contemporary painters. (See our review in last week’s Artguide.) Balatonfüred, for its part, has Villa Vaszary on offer.
The municipality refurbished the erstwhile summer residence of Archbishop Vaszary in an exemplary manner last year. Built originally for Benedictine monks as a summer resort by Benedictine Abbot Kolos Vaszary who later became Archbishop of Hungary’s Catholic Church, the mansion with Romantic loggias and turrets was soon converted into a military resort and extended by a new wing in the 1920s and then by another concrete wing built for Soviet soldiers in the 1960s. The reconstruction works of the dilapidated compound had drawn to a close by 2010, and the renewed establishment has offered several excellent exhibitions since.
This summer season’s delightful offering is a handsome selection of the paintings preserved in Kecskemét Gallery. This is a high-level, extremely likable selection from its early Modernist paintings dating back to the first half of the 20th century. It is replete with masterpieces well-known from reproductions, and also with surprising discoveries. What with the generous gift of internationally renowned art-collector Marcell Nemes, the early 20th century collection of the Kecskemét Gallery is especially powerful extended as it was by gifts from painters of the local artists’ settlement, on offshoot of the Nagybánya settlement, headed by Béla Iványi-Grünwald – all optimistic Post-Impressionist canvasses with merry birds chirping away.
The female figure dressed in purple painted by István Zichy marches on elegantly, the wayward roofs of Vilmos Perlrott Csaba shine forth, and there are several crisp still-lives conceived in Cézanne‘s manner. Márffy’s painting of Kecskemét’s winding streets dissolves in whitish pastel colours, while Tibor Pólya’s brother plays his violin framed by black contours. The dark-clad female figure painted by János Vaszary shoots off surprisingly enticing glances at spectators. Károly Ferenczy, for his part, prepares spectators for the delights of the Bergmann confectionery with his painting of a lovely pot cake.
There was a genuine boom before the Great War in Kecskemét. Modern creativity was greatly encouraged by the mayor. It was then that the handsome Art Nouveau buildings of its Main Square were erected. Designer of Kecskemét’s City Hall Ödön Lechner leaves his mark on the exhibition with his sketch of the town’s would-be water tower.
Nor did the growth of the Kecskemét Gallery come to a stop with the Great War. It was here that the bequest of excellent painter István Farkas, who had been killed in Auschwitz, landed after WWII. The bequest includes the miraculously airy suburban twilight painted by him and shown at the Villa Vaszary. Not to mention his erstwhile master László Mednyánszky who features at Villa Vaszary with portraits of his beloved boyfriend Bálint Kurdi, or tramps around a campfire, and also the frozen bodies of soldiers killed in the Great War.
István Farkas’ bequest also includes some of his best colleagues like Abstract painter Jenő Barcsay, painter of Lake Balaton József Egry, and some pieces by Imre Ámos and his wife/widow Margit Anna.
Apart from the Farkas bequest, Kecskemét Gallery also preserves thousands of pictures by magic painter of the Hungarian Plains Menyhért Tóth, extremely valuable stuff represented at the Villa only by a sample of his early drawings.
Whether it’s the skill of the exhibition’s curator, or the expertise of the Villa’s cafeteria run by Bergmann confectionery, the paintings add up to a good-spirited summer affair. Visitors popping in between two dips in Lake Balaton are likely to take away with them the flower scent and sunshine of Post-Impressionism rather than the tragic fate of artists perishing in wars and deprivation.
Villa Vaszary, Balatonfüred
18 June – 11 September
Best of Diploma 2011
6 July – 26 July
Hungarian Arts University
This is the sixth time the Hungarian Arts University has put on a show of its recently graduated students’ diploma works. Its departments of painting, sculpture, intermedia, spectacle design, and graphic art have presented the best diploma works of their students graduating in 2011 in May, June, and now in July in three venues, and by weekly portions. The goal of this exhibition in instalments is simple: the University wishes to demonstrate the quality of its educational programmes by showing the works to the public that had been most highly appreciated by its invited graduation jurors.
Ideas in Lines – A Show by Tibor Kaján
5 July – 23 August
kArton Gallery and Museum
90 this year, Tibor Kaján is an internationally well-known grand old man among Hungarian cartoonists. The title of the show has been coined by Kaján himself to define the kind of intellectual cartoons he is most noted for. Some of the drawings are originals with marginal sketches and deletions, and also printing instructions. There are also pieces from authorised serial editions numbered and signed by the artist.
Beheaded – In Search of the Dracula Myth – A Show by Ádám Géczy
9 July – 31 August
Esterházy Palace, Győr Municipal Arts Museum
This grandiose show offers drawings as well as videos, recorded sound material, photographs, installations, and sculptures – all indicative of the search for the true meaning of the Dracula myth, a search mixing personal involvement with motifs of national history. The photos were shot in Romania around the castles of Bran and Peles, while another part of the show has sprung from the collaboration of Ádám Géczy with Berlin-based electro-acoustic composer Thomas Gerwin.