An Unceasing Search

2018. 12. 09 – 2020. 11. 15.


Kmetty Museum




6 pm 8 December 2018

A key painter of Hungarian modernism, the early career of János Kmetty (1889–1975) admitted the influence of Nagybánya’s neo-Impressionists, The Eight, and French Cubism. He later joined the activist movement, and during the interwar period, he was a member of the New Society of Fine Artists (KUT), a progressive group. Like most of his contemporaries, he visited Paris, and worked in Kecskemét, Nagybánya and Szentendre. In 1946 he was elected into the Society of Szentendre Painters, became a member of the artist colony, and the town provided his art with an essential theme and frame for the rest of his life.
Though János Kmetty was among those who introduced Cubism to Hungary, he did not adopt all of the movement’s distinctive traits, and created instead an individual interpretation of the style, one fashioned to suit his own painterly world. The essential responsibility of the artist, he thought, was to find the truths intrinsic to a paradigm of painting, as well as the spirit of the age. He called himself a searcher, and searching was at the root of his artistic programme. As Lajos Kassák put it: “He is always busy, and not because he hasn’t found anything interesting and worthwhile but because he wants to bring to light something even more significant than what he has found.”
It was in this spirit that he made self-portraits throughout his career, documenting the different phases of his life, just as this search informed the still lifes that communicate a higher order or harmony, the landscapes he made in City Park, Kecskemét, Nagybánya, and Szentendre, and the blue-hued compositions of his last creative period that employ geometric structures.

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