Imre Égerházi paintings on display once again

More than 30 years have passed since Imre Égerházi, born in Hajdúhadház, held his first exhibition in the capital at the MOM House of Culture. The “Master of the Great Plain” passed away in 2001, but a significant part of his paintings remained together, thanks to his sons, who take great care of his legacy: the public could once again see the benefits of the 1972 premiere in the dome hall of the cultural center.

It may have been a feeling of déjà vu for those who, after Imre Égerházi’s introduction thirty-four years ago, may have taken part in the exhibition of his paintings again. The same paintings in the same place: as Mayor György Mitnyan, who opened the exhibition, put it, the perfection of the overall picture is broken only by the absence of the artist.

Art historian Balázs Feledy also pointed out the special feature of the posthumous exhibition at the opening: it is rare for the audience to see someone’s paintings together in the same space after all this time. But it is also a rarity to treat the legacy of an artist with as much care as the sons of Imre Égerházi nurture their father’s inheritance. According to the art historian, the answer to the question of whether it was worth presenting works made three decades ago is clear. The paintings were not depreciated, their value is unchanged: although the interpretation of current events was typical of the 70s, Égerházi created a timeless world. As a lover of the Great Plain and Transylvanian landscapes, he processed the pantheistic essence of nature.

It’s hard to be original in naturalistic painting, but he succeeded. The formal solutions are original: the loose surfaces bordered by the hard contours give the images rhythm and musicality. There is no dissonance between the colors, yet the characteristic dark tone shows a lot of human drama. Interestingly, the images created towards the end of his life, many of which were also exhibited, gradually became clearer. Imre Égerházi painted until the last moment of his life. The opening of the old-new exhibition was made memorable by one of the artist’s sons, Attila Égerházi, who gave a concert with his band, Djabe. The guitarist and his band compiled his program from compositions inspired by the paintings.

The painter Imre Égerházi (1925-2001) was born in Hajdúhadház, as a late descendant of János Égerházi Képíró, a fresco painter who lived in the 16th century. He studied at the Free School of Fine Arts in Debrecen, his master was the painter József Menyhárt. From 1962, he participated in more than a 100 solo and 400 group exhibitions, from the United States throughout Europe and Hungary to Japan. In 1964 he was a founding member of the Hajdúböszörmény International Artists’ Colony, where he worked for 30 years. From the beginning of the 70s, he participated for 20 years and managed for 10 years the Factory exhibitions. From 1982 he reorganized and led the Hortobágy Creative Camp until his death. He is considered to be the most prominent Hungarian patron of Hungarian artists across the border. In the 1990s, he was elected honorary president of the Artists ’Colony in St. Michel, France. His paintings can be found in domestic and international museums, public institutions and collectors.

2006, D – Hegyvidék, 05-04-2006