From Fauvism to Surrealism

29 mei t/m 24 september 2017

From 29 May to 24 September 2017 the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam will be placing work of nineteen Hungarian Avant-Garde artists in the spotlight. The exhibition From Fauvism to Surrealism: Jewish Avant-Garde Artists  from Hungary presents the innovative paintings of these artists from the first half of the 20th century, when the country was plagued by nationalism, war, and growing antisemitism. Most of the artworks included have never been shown in the Netherlands before.

Hungary provided a vibrant artistic milieu in the first half of the 20th century. The country was a magnet for artists from Eastern, Central and Western Europe, becoming a hub of countless artistic movements. Artists experimented with French Fauvism and Cubism, Italian Futurism, German Expressionism, and Soviet cinema and Constructivism.

Béla Czóbel, Jongens, 1907. Foto: István Füzi. Janus Pannonius Museum - Pécs
Béla Czóbel, Jongens, 1907. Foto: István Füzi. Janus Pannonius Museum - Pécs

Growing antisemitism
At the same time, this was a turbulent period in Hungary. The country went through an upsurge of nationalism, the First World War, the collapse of the Austria-Hungarian Empire, the Second World War, and the early years of the Communist regime. Many artists came from Jewish backgrounds and from the early 1920s onwards they faced growing antisemitism and later the Holocaust.

The exhibition shows about eighty paintings that illustrate both the urge for experimentation and a range of different styles. For instance, we see Béla Kádár’s cubist landscapes, painted in the style of Chagall, and images of night life by Armand Schönberger, painted in the style of Italian Futurism. The artworks also capture the atmosphere of their time. Lili Ország portrays the consequences of the Holocaust in dark, grim paintings.

Links: Lili Ország, Met tabaksbladeren, ca. 1955. King St. Stephen Museum, Székesfehérvár, rechts: Lajos Vajda, Gustave Fleury, 1930-1933. Ferenczy Museum Center - Szentendere
Left: Lili Ország, Met tabaksbladeren, ca. 1955. King St. Stephen Museum, Székesfehérvár, right: Lajos Vajda, Gustave Fleury, 1930-1933. Ferenczy Museum Center - Szentendere

'The green haired monster' - Self portrait by Dezső Czigány 


This exhibition is on view at the Jewish Historical Museum.


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Your ticket will give access to the Jewish Historical Museum, the Portuguese Synagogue, the Hollandsche Schouwburg, the JHM Children's Museum, and the National Holocaust Museum. You can visit all four locations with one ticket, which is valid for one month!

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False Testimony   

Simultaneously with this exhibition the museum is showing the video installation False Testimony of the Hungarian artist Hajnal Németh (1972) writer and cultural researcher Zoltán Kékesi (1976). False Testimony is about the Tiszaeszlár Affair of 1883, sometimes compared to the Dreyfus Affair in France. A modern opera tells the tale of the falsely accused Jews in connection with the disappearance of a 14-year-old Christian girl. The video is accompanied by a photo-series, which provide a subtle exposé of present-day antisemitism in Hungary.

With thanks to
Met dank aan onze sponsoren


Aegon Hungary - David Berg Foundation - The Foundation for the Jewish Historical Museum, Inc. - The Lucius N. Littauer Foundation - Stichting Will en Rita Jaeger Fonds - salomon de jong Stichting - Marcelle Hertzdahl Fonds - Prof. dr. Herman Musaph Fonds - Stichting Ankie Hak - Stichting Vrienden van het Joods Historisch Museum

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