Barbizon on the Hungarian plains
One of the most famous regions of today’s Hungary is Hortobágy, the largest contiguous saline-grassland in Central Europe in the Trans-Tisza. In the neighborhood of the long-established Calvinist city of Debrecen. Besides its economic values, Hortobágy is a treasure trove of archaeology, ethnography, and tourism. Visitors from many countries of the world come here to see the wilderness, the Nine-Hole Bridge, the Shepherd Museum, the Hortobágy Gallery, the Horseshoe Gallery – and for horse riding and other such activities. In order to preserve its special flora and birdlife, the National Nature Conservation Office declared a significant part of the wilderness a National Park on January 1, 1973. In addition, Hortobágy is an integral part of Hungarian art history, our contemporary art that wants to be connected to international art life. Hortobágy’s Impressionist lyricism and Expressionist drama (the scale is even wider in reality) have already inspired many artists. Perhaps the most famous of the classics is the painting titled Storm on Hortobágy by Tivadar Kosztka Csontváry (his work was recognized by the European public at the 1959 World’s Fair in Brussels). Tibor Boromissza, Miklós Káplár and Zoltán Maghy worked in Hortobágy as pioneers of a creative community, from 1929 to 1931. Their ars poetica was a connection to the painting of the Great Plain, to the world of the autumn steppe.
Their aesthetic and moral heritage – renewing and completing it – has been continued by the Hortobágy Creative Camp since 1982. Their sponsor is the Hajdú-Bihar County Catering Company.
The Hortobágy Creative Camp is a community with a democratic spirit, offering rich artistic inspirations and open in several directions. On the one hand towards talented amateurs, on the other hand towards interested photographers, and finally towards foreign artists who can identify with Hortobágy traditions. In addition to the Hungarians from Yugoslavia (Hunor Gyurkovics, Sándor Torok), who are formally “foreigners”, the Creative Camp has returning guests from France, Italy and, to our great delight, from the Netherlands, which boasts outstanding painting and graphic traditions: Willy van Beek and Ineke Verheggen.
Dr. Csaba Éles