Modernism in Hungary 1900–1930

Modernism in Hungary 1900–1930

September 23, 2017–January 7, 2018

Temporary Exhibitions Gallery (2nd floor)

Free guided tour in English January 7th, 2018

The exhibition is an invitation to explore the rich mosaic of diverse works and colourful artistic personalities. This is a dynamic picture of the Hungarian art of the first thirty years of the twentieth century. Portraits painted by members of The Eight group, fauve landscapes and nude paintings, illustrations for the ‘MA’ magazine, stained glass projects, cubist views of cities - are just some of the over 100 works that can be seen in the Royal Castle in Warsaw.

Hungary, the first thirty years of the twentieth century. Time of intense change - World War I, the end of the Habsburg rule, the fall of Austro-Hungary, the division of the country. While looking for creative ways the young painters set up an artist colony in the picturesque town of Nagybánya (currently Baia Mare in Romania). They reject academicism, biblical and historical themes. They are influenced by French Neo-Impressionists. In official circles they are mockingly referred to as “Neós”. The authority for young creators is József Rippl-Rónai, who is gaining acclaim in France. Following in his footsteps, many of them continue to study on the banks of the Seine. Paris sets the direction for their further artistic activity.

In 1909 they form The Eight group (Nyolcak), the first Hungarian avant-garde body. It includes: Károly Kernstok, Róbert Berény, Dezső Czigány, Béla Czóbel, Ödon Márffy, Dezső Orbán, Bertalan Pór and Lajos Tihanyi. They are clearly inspired by Post-Impressionism and Fauvism. Their models are the works of Cézanne, Gauguin and Matisse. They value traditional paintings such as portrait, nude painting, still life and landscape. They like plain air painting. Their bold brush strokes fill the canvas with stains of unusually intense colours, and the expressive portraits reveal the qualities of Cubism and Futurism. The Artists House (Művéshaz)  and the Coloman the Learned Salon (Könyves Kálmán Szalon) are established in Budapest. This is where the ‘rejected’ by official galleries and salons can show their works. The Eight organizes three exhibitions. Although it breaks up after five years, it revolutionizes the artistic life of Budapest.

The outbreak of the war results in political and social involvement of many artists. A new chapter begins in the history of the Hungarian avant-garde. In 1915, Lajos Kassák founded the ‘A Tett’ journal. One year later appears the ‘MA’ magazine and a gallery related to it, where the activists such as: Lajos Kassák, Lajos Tihanyi, József Nemes Lampérth, János Mattis Teutsch, Sándor Bortnyik, Béla Uitz and the duet Sándor Galimberti - Valéria Dénes present their works. Their creative output is a compilation of Futurism, Cubism and Expressionism. Following the defeat in the war, significant changes take place in the lives of the Hungarians. In the years 1919–1920 the avant-garde artists are emigrating to develop their careers abroad. Vienna, Berlin, Weimar and Moscow are their destinations. In Vienna the ‘MA’ journal is reactivated. The works published on its pages present new trends in art: Russian Constructivism, Suprematism and Dutch Neoplasticism. The first Image Architectures (Képarchitúrák) are created. László Péri, Aurél Bernáth and Hugó Scheiber have the opportunity to present their works in Berlin - in the Der Sturm Gallery and in the related journal. With Der Sturm collaborates also László Moholy-Nagy, painter, photographer, filmmaker, the icon of not only Hungarian but also European avant-garde. From 1923 Moholy-Nagy lectured and created at the Bauhaus. The next generation of young Hungarian artists migrates to Weimar.

The exhibition completes the celebration of the of the Hungarian Cultural Year in Poland.

Entry free of charge evidence tickets are required (available at the box office). Last entrance one hour before closing.


Janus Pannonius Múzeum

The Royal Castle in Warsaw – Museum

Hungarian Cultural Institute in Warsaw


József Sárkány (Janus Pannonius Múzeum), Marta Zdańkowska (The Royal Castle in Warsaw – Museum), Mariann Gergely (Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest)

Organizational curator: Anna Małecka (The Royal Castle in Warsaw)

Scenography: Árpád Fákó

Opening hours:

Tuesday–Saturday 10 a.m.4 p.m.

Sunday 11 a.m.4 p.m.

Open: November 11th and December 26th 2017 (10 a.m.–4 p.m.), closed: November 1st, December 24th, 25th, 31st, 2017 r. and January 6th, 2018