Toys (1909)

István Zichy (1879 - 1951)



23 x 30 cm


Aquarelle on paper.


30,000 USD


Signed bottom right: ligature signature ZI 09 XI



  • Nándor Ikvai, editor: Gödöllőiek, szentendreiek. Studies in the History of Art. Studia Comitatensia 10. Szentendre, 1982, photo 9.
  • 100 years of the Gödölló carpet. 2009 Gödölló City Museum.(116. p.)


István Zichy studied fine arts in Munich, Paris and Nagybánya. In the first half of his life he exhibited his paintings in several exhibitions. Later, his attention turned to questions of Hungarian prehistory. In 1931, he became a private university lecturer. Between 1934 and 1944 he was director general of the Hungarian History Museum and president of the Hungarian Ethnographic Society. In his studies he regularly used the results of ethnography. His work was an inspiration to contemporary ethnographers interested in prehistory.


István Zichy began attending the art colony in Gödöllő in the winter of 1904. The members of the artists' colony respected folk art as the purest, most demonic value of artistic principles, and travelled the countryside in search of ancient sources to create national art. The Toys (1909), which can be seen now, were attributed to Mariska Undi in the volume of studies entitled Gödöllőiek - Szentendreiek (Studia Comitatensia 10. 1982). 'László Kis Horváth drew my attention to Zichy's authorship, although it is also obvious from the initials (ZI 09 XI). The sheet was apparently given to Maria Undi because it depicts a scene on an appliquéd tablecloth, and Undi had made such a tablecloth. The characters in the scene are play figures, and both Undi and other Gödöllő residents (Árpád Juhász) were involved in designing children's toys, depicting toys, and bringing the world of toys to life (Laura Kriesch). Zichy's work is therefore typically from Gödöllő. His individual approach makes him unique: the playful emphasis on the construction of the mounted toy soldiers (obviously made of wood, with movable hands and feet), the decorative aspect, the animation of the figures similar to puppet shows (duel), the real small (stage) space composed of the lead soldiers lined up in the background and the spectators of the decorative tribune, Zichy's intimate identification with the landscape, the images of life, history and myths, already experienced here with the world of children. In addition to this, it is striking how Zichy creates a space that is both real and fairy-tale-like-abstract from the small but monumental decorative circular motifs of the tablecloth in relation to the figures', writes Katalin Keserű in her study entitled Before the Autobiography of István Zichy in 1993.

Related Themes

Art Nouveau

(1901 - 1921)

Pre-War Figurative Art

(1922 - 1950)

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Zoltán Remsey

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Kálmán Tichy

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Arnold Gara

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Attila Sassy

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Sándor Muhits

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Mariska Undi

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