Szalay Lajos - Koloman Sokol - Pablo Picasso

Bratislava City Gallery - Pálffy Palace

Date: 21/January/2016 - 13/March/2016

Opening on 21 January 2016, the Szalay – Sokol – Picasso exhibition at the Pálffy Palace in Bratislava is the result of cooperation between the organising Budapest-based Kovács Gábor Art Foundation (KOGART) and the host, the Bratislava City Gallery (BCG). KOGART holds some five hundred graphic works by Lajos Szalay, and the BCG has provided a substantial background for the exhibition. Together, they sought to create an exhibition which, rather than taking a linear/monographic approach, explores the roots and diverse cultural-historical background of twentieth-century classicising drawing. It achieves this through the analogical and thematic presentation of the oeuvres of two Central European artists who never met in person, but whose lives intertwined in many ways.

The work of Lajos Szalay (1909–1995), an outstanding artist in the field of Hungarian drawing, and Koloman Sokol (1902–2003), an enigmatic figure of Slovak graphic art, hailed from the same geographical and intellectual environment. The life stories of Szalay and Szokol have some striking parallels. They spent the majority of their lives on the American continent, created the backbone of their work in the United States, while preserving and cherishing their Central European identities.

The exhibition also sheds light on how, in addition to similar careers, the artistic outlooks of Lajos Szalay and Koloman Sokol, were influenced by Pablo Picasso (1881–1973). The artists were influenced by the Picasso phenomenon in different ways; doubtless, however, neither could escape the charisma of the master. Szalay’s work betrays influence of Picasso’s drawings, while Sokol was more closely related to the expressive Picasso.

The exhibition endeavours to explore the story and world-view of the two Central European artists who took similar views of art and produced oeuvres similar in style and theme. Also, it takes a look at their characteristic differences – all in an international context. The exhibition will have some 100 works by Szalay on display, as well as 150 by Sokol, as well as 13 works by Pablo Picasso. It is open until 13 March 2016.

The exhibition is hosted with support from the Ministry of Human Resources.

János ÁDER, President of Hungary and Andrej KISKA, President of Slovakia

PhDr. Iván JANČÁR, Director of the Bratislava City Gallery
Lilla SZABÓ, PhD, art historian
Noémi SZABÓ, art historian (KOGART)

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