The graphic designer and painter József Halmy was born in 1929 in Putnok, in the North of Hungary. In 1945, he was deported to Germany. After World War II, he spent four years in Paris, where he studied at the Ecole de Beaux Arts. In 1952, Halmy emigrated to Canada and from 1962 to 1966 he studied at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto. After his studies, he worked at the National Art Gallery in Ottawa as a painting and paper conservator, all the while continuing to create his own work as an artist and exhibiting in Canada and Hungary.
This past year Halmy has had two exhibitions in Hungary. From September 17 to October 10, 2009, the Art Gallery of Miskolc, Hungary, presented the graphic works and drawings he had previously donated to the city. For more information on this exhibition in Hungarian, please click here.
In April 2009, Halmy’s drawings and paintings were also exhibited at the Canadian-Hungarian Fine Art Gallery at the Bishop’s Palace in Sümeg, Hungary, together with the works of Hungarian-born Tibor Nyilasi. Halmy explains his works in this way:
"They seem to be caricatures and in a way they are, and as such they are critical of human beings, through them human society and in the final analysis humanity itself, its actions, its undesirable indeed frightening aspects. The works are not only contemporary but projecting into the future by the meaning they carry. The paintings present human figures with contorted features, bizarre poses going into the extreme. This is social criticism in the strongest of terms. The figures, rather than being portraits of individuals, synthetize collective human traits.'
The Canadian-Hungarian Fine Arts Foundation
In this context, we would like to draw your attention to the Gadácsi-Szijjártó Fine Art Foundation promoting Canadian-Hungarian fine arts in the above mentioned art gallery in Sümeg. This non-profit foundation was established by István Gadácsi and his wife Julianna Szijjártó, who is originally from Sümeg.
They have lived in Canada since 1957 and have operated their own art gallery near Hamilton for 26 years. In the past few years, the couple has worked on the establishment of a similar art gallery in Sümeg to advance Hungarian-Canadian cultural relations. Please click here to read more about the foundation, its goals and the various exhibitions at the gallery.