Transylvanian Landscape

oil, board, 104×122 cm

Transylvanian Landscape

The painting was made in 1970.
Imre Égerházi stated multiple times that he was excited about two main topics. As he often put it, he has two big loves: the Hungarian Great Plain and Transylvania.

The connection to Transylvania is not accidental, as the Égerházi family comes from the settlement of Mezőbánd near Marosvásárhely Târgu Mureş. The formerly independent Egerháza merged into this settlement in the early 1400s. The Egerházi family already received the rank of nobleman in the 13th century at the time of the first Hungarian royal nobles, which was renewed by the Transylvanian princes in the 1600s. In 1609, Balázs Egerházi received a re-nobleisation from the Transylvanian prince Gábor Báthory, then his descendant, János Egerházi Képíró, from György Rákóczi I.
János Egerházi Képíró received the award for his artistic work and services to the princes. In 1671, Mihály Egerházi, another member of the family, received a letter of nobility from Mihály Apafi. This letter traveled through generations in Hajdúhadház, in the attic’s rafters, where the family hid it. Imre Égerházi brought it to Debrecen in the mid-1930s. After the fall of the Transylvanian Principality, the family had to flee. At the beginning of the 1700s, three Egerházi brothers were admitted to the matrices as Égerházi, so from then on, the family’s “Hajdúság branch” was registered as Égerházi.

He first visited Târgu Mureş, Transylvania in 1956, where his wife’s relatives live in. He immediately felt at home between the landscape and the people, so from then on, he visited Transylvania at least once a year. From the second half of the 60s, he visited the Körös region, the Székelys, the Csángós and the Szatmár countryside with dedicated creative purpose, and often with artist friends.
Imre Égerházi did not know much about his own Transylvanian ancestors, however, in the 60s, the art historian Rezső Szíj drew his attention to what is possibly his family tree. The wooden ceiling of the Reformed church, painted by János Egerházi Képíró, is still standing in Gyulakuta and is the most significant piece of Hungarian art history from that era. This is the clue that made Rezső Szíj thinking. When Imre Égerházi first entered the church in the early 80s, he became almost ill. He saw his own art on the ceiling. János Képíró used the same motifs as him, and his lines and form were the same.

Transylvanian-themed paintings began to dominate in 1968. Specifically, large-scale, diverse works have been created. Not only did he present the, sometimes rugged, beauty of the landscape, but also tried to portray the fate of the people who lived there. One of the most significant works of this era is this 104 x 122 cm painting. Although the title is Transylvanian landscape, it also has a deep message about the fate and suffering of the people of Transylvania. We can read pain in the face and movements of the young woman on the right side of the painting, and in the background one of the important places for the survival of the Hungarians in Transylvania, a church and a church garden can be seen. The headstones of the cemetery convey the transience and the endangered situation of Hungarians in Transylvania. If this painting had not been born in 1970, during the communist dictatorship, it would probably have received a different title.

The painting is dominated by blue colors typical of the period between 1969-71, with strong contours. In Imre Égerházi’s studio, he used a 500W bulb (approximately 9500 lumens), so if we illuminate his slightly dark-toned images, the shapes and figures come to life.

The painting is currently owned by the city of Hajdúhadház and in the collection of the Imre Égerházi Memorial House.