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In the Wake of Classical Artists: Aba-Novák Vilmos, Nagy Imre and their artist friends   
17. May - 31 August 2018.

Aba-Novák Vilmos, Szőnyi István, Nagy Imre, Patkó Károly, Varga Nándor Lajos and Jándi Dávid were part of a generation which was born at the beginning of the 1890s. The common characteristic of this generation was that their early artistic career was interrupted by the First World War. After the war ended they all studied for a longer or shorter period of time at the Acadamy of Fine Arts from Budapest, where they didn’t only learn painting, but they also attained the art of etching at the Graphic Department led by Olgyai Viktor. They were adapts of the dramatic and expressive style of the old-timer masters, especially that of Rembrandt. Because of the similar interests and the constant renewal of the graphic style, they were referred to as the generation of engravers. As a reaction to the innovative trends of the avant-garde and as a result of the traumas experienced in the First World War, the Europe of the 1920s was longing for some stability in the world-view and for reaching a spiritual harmony. This wish also made itself seen in the fine arts through the self-portraits and allegorical nudes that were evoking bygone times. This behaviour and stylistic alignment is known as neoclassicism. One of the most thrilling Hungarian representative of the tendency was Korb Erzséb, who died at an early age. Szőnyi, Jándi and Paizs Goebel Jenő had already been to Baia Mare during the war. Later on Kecskemét became a very important place: between 1919-1920 Nagy Imre, Varga Nándor Lajos and Korda Vince, who later became a fashion designer, all worked and created in the art colony. In 1924 Nagy Imre moved back to Jigodin, Szőnyi István settled down in Zebegény (Hungary). In 1925 a counter art colony almost came into being at Baia Sprie, near Baia Mare, where Aba-Novák Vilmos, Patkó Károly, Bánk Ernő and Nagy Imre created several work of arts. As a result of the 1928 scholarship offered by the city of Rome, the expressive paintings of the 1920s were replaced. Some of the artists began to use a lighter, more delicate and relaxed style of painting (Szőnyi István, Patkó Károly), while others became the adepts of a colourful, decorative style (Aba-Novák Vilmos). Aba-Novák was good friends with Nagy Imre, he paid several visits to him in Transylvania. Beginning with the 1930s Aba-Novák, Szőnyi and Varga Nándor Lajos started teaching at the University of Fine Arts from Budapest.

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