Night (1965)

Endre Hortobágyi (1941 - 1998)



120 x 85 cm.


Oil on canvas.


80,000 USD


Signed on the reverse: Hortobágyi Éj


Endre Hortobágyi's exhibition

1985. szeptember 3 - 29.

Óbudai Galéria


Collection exhibition of Endre Hortobágyi

1996. augusztus 10. - szeptember 1.

Ernst Múzeum



Between 1957 and 1961 he studied at the High School of Fine and Applied Arts, where he was taught by Miklós Göllner, Jenő Benedek and Sándor Basilides. After graduation, he applied several times to the Academy of Fine Arts, but his applications were repeatedly rejected for political reasons. 
In 1962 Hortobágyi joined the Zugló Circle led by Sándor Molnár. This particular "intellectual self-image circle" played a decisive role in the development of the non-figurative wing of the Hungarian New Avant-garde. The group's meetings were attended by László Molnár, Imre Bak, István Nádler and especially Pál Deim, all of whom later became renowned artists.


In 1963, Hortobágyi was one of the first to organise a solo studio exhibition in the apartment of Pál Petrigalla. Afterwards, he participated in the ÚT '66 and at the Ady Endre Cultural Centre with members of the Zugló Circle. Both exhibitions were later banned. After the dissolution of the Zugló Circle in 1968, he did not join any other artistic grouping. In 1973 Hortobágyi participated with several others in the Balatonboglár Chapel Exhibition. After that, however, he lived in seclusion for more than ten years in Hűvösvölgy, and had no exhibitions. Between 1975 and 1983 he worked as a graphic designer and window dresser at the Budapest Public Services Company, creating price boards based on his own template. In 1978, he travelled to Paris, and between 1985 and 1990 he worked as a night washerwoman at the Hotel Buda Penta, looking for his canvas.


In 1985, the young art historian Gábor Andrási organized a solo exhibition for her at the Óbuda Gallery. In 1990, following an exhibition entitled Inventions at the Herman Hall of the Fészek Club, he met the art collector Ákos Vörösváry, who took him under his wing. His purchases enabled him to work as a full-time painter in the 1990s and to prepare for his solo exhibition of his life's work at the Ernst Museum in 1996. His last exhibition at the Szinyei Salon was organized by Péter Sinkovits in 1998. He died in the same year in his home in Hűvösvölgy.


In Hortobágyi's art, two types of painterly vision are combined: on the one hand, the French lyrical abstraction (or "motif-hiding abstraction"), in which the abstraction of the view and the unity of the interlocking forms cover the entire surface of the picture plane with rays of light. This is definitely the legacy of the Zugló Circle, which then influenced his entire oeuvre. Another group of works is situated on the borderline between calligraphy, gesture painting and informel. From the late fifties to the early sixties, calligraphy, which captures only a few liberated gestures on paper, was a dominant element of Hortobágyi's painting. He came across it quite instinctively; Far Eastern examples were as unfamiliar to him at the time as were the related aspirations of modern Western art. These were primarily walnut wood and ink drawings, and while the former were based primarily on spontaneous relationships between dark and light stains and the velvety brown tones of the stain, the latter were more symbolic with their nervous, gritty linework. Hortobágyi 'immortalised' these brushstrokes in oil paintings in 1965. Emotions are often conveyed directly on canvas with elemental force, sweeping away all anxieties and agendas; the greasy, thick paint strokes form a dishevelled, erosive surface, as can be seen in the painting Night. The dialogue between negative and positive forms gives the image its dynamic. The colour fields are precisely defined, the brushstrokes follow the forms. The work creates a very strong atmosphere, with vibrant yellows, dark purples that evoke a sense of warmth and shades that almost seem neon. The work, which breaks down the natural landscape into its elements, is abstract but also relies heavily on the viewer's ability to make associations, Yet there is order in the picture, due to the rhythm of the brushstrokes, the main direction of the movements and, above all, the instinctive composition of the colours. According to László Beke, Summer, Deduction, Night and Train Grove are Hortobágyi's most important and unique works.


Related Themes

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(1948 - 1980)

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