“There should be an exhibition after all”

The life and art of Júlia VAJDA

2018. 10. 30 – 2019. 03. 31.


Szentendre Gallery


Noémi SZABÓ , György PETŐCZ

The career of Júlia Vajda (1913–1981) started in the middle of the 1930s, when she was closely associated with Lajos Vajda, Dezső Korniss and Endre Bálint, and finished in the 1970s, when she was an enthusiastic and acknowledged fellow traveller of the young artists of the neo-avant-garde. History was not easy on those who lived during this period of over four decades: the precariousness of life during the war and the Holocaust was followed by the professional marginalization or suppression that was the lot of modernist artists in “the fifties.” To varying degrees, the artistic milieu had alwaysbeen, and continued to be inauspicious. The setbacks of the scene were followed by new starts, revivals: the war was followed by the wonderful period of the European School (1945–1948), and the atmosphere and intellectual effervescence of the West in the 1960s would also filter through to Hungary. As was the case with her contemporaries, Júlia Vajda’s career was fitful, a succession of halts and new advances. What made her different from other members of her generation was an almost unparalleled vibrancy that was powered by an abiding youthfulness and that kept her in sync with the times.
While the sudden and frequent changes gave the peculiarity of her art, the persistent desire to keep abreast of contemporary developments is what gives her work art historical significance. Consider, for instance, the end of the 1950s, when she did not choose to resume the free adventure of the European School that had been interrupted in 1948, but explored new directions no one in her vicinity had tried. At the end of the day, she was a bridge between the artists of the European School and the then appearing future great generation of the 1960s. Her art was probing the same problems and ideas that her Western contemporaries were. This work always remained somewhat obscure, and this is particularly true of its special function of connecting old and new art, and seeking new directions. It is indeed a conundrum: despite working in isolation, in a Hungarian milieu that was generally unsophisticated, Júlia Vajda managed to keep up to date with developments in Western art.

Further Exhibitions