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Birdsong

Károly Ferenczy1893

Hungarian National Gallery

Hungarian National Gallery

Károly Ferenczy was the leading figure of the unfolding and consummation of plein air painting in Hungary, the most outstanding artist of the group and style known as the Nagybanya school, so called because the group founded and artists’ colony in Nagybánya (today Baia Mare, Romania) in 1896. After years of studies abroad, he settled with his family in Szentendre, close to Budapest. As he attended Simon Hollossy’s art school in Munich, he was drawn under the influence of Jules Bastien-Lepage for a time and made his first works at home in his style. The four years in Szentendre comprise a separate chapter in Ferenczy’s oeuvre. He picked his subjects from everyday life showing the figures in ordinary activities. In the spirit of the painting traditions of Munich he depicted genre scenes ont he canvases, but he deliberately avoided stories with a point to them. He watched his figures from afar, concentrating on states rather than actions. A clearly composed world painted with puritanic simplicity appears, the figures being enveloped in a strange sadness and lyricism.

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