Three Hungarian Painters

VEN EMILThis post is about three Hungarian painters we encountered on opposite ends of our vacation. On May 25 our Viking bus tour took us to the Budapest opera house, following which we went to the Müvész Kávéház, to sample some remarkable cakes. But the interior of the dining room also impressed us. On the wall near our table was a photograph of Vén Emil (1902-1984, above). I initially mistook this for a picture of Liszt, until I zoomed in and read the plaque.  Vén Emil was of Italian birth but lived in Hungary, producing colorful landscapes, portraits, and still-life pictures. The other picture I saw was a droll painting of a man admiring a young woman and her daughters (below). Is he the husband and father? One could wonder. I took pictures of these and later corresponded with the café manager Edit Rebak, who kindly provided an additional photograph and the information that the painting was by Komaromi-Kacz Endre, a Hungarian artist who lived between 1880 and 1969.  I used PaintShop Pro to edit the pictures for this post.

Painting by Komaromi-Kacz Endre


The Endre painting reminded me of the well-known picture by Giovanni Boldini of a young woman crossing the street, under the admiring eye of a young dandy in a carriage, that hangs in the Clark Museum in Williamstown, Massachusetts. WomanCrossingStreetBoldini

In this case it is clear that the young man is not yet acquainted with the lady!

The Müvész Kávéház was a real delight – here is one of the delicious cakes:


Müvész Kávéház, being chosen by our guide, is clearly a must-see in Budapest, at 1061 Budapest Andrássy út 29.

Much later during our vacation, we visited the Orangerie du Sénat in the Jardin de Luxembourg in Paris, and discovered yet another Hungarian painter, about the same generation, named Endre Rozsda. He was strongly influenced by surrealism, as shown on the poster of the exhibition. Most of the paintings were in this style.IMG_3127

However, he mastered several styles over his career, as shown by the self-portrait and the picture of a young woman “Marianne” shown here.



Rozsda wrote about how his painting enabled him to capture moments in time, a very Proustian concept. The fact that we began our vacation in Budapest looking at a Hungarian painting and finished it in Paris also looking at Hungarian paintings is not entirely coincidental, I suppose, but I felt that I learned something new about the unity of Europe, and the continuity of various forms of art.

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