Friday, July 9, 2010

Sándor Bortnyik

    Sándor Bortnyik, The Twentieth Century, 1927

Sándor Bortnyik (1893-1976) was born in Marosvásárhely, Transylvania (today  Târgu Mureş, Romania). Since 1910 he studied at the Free Art School in Budapest with József Rippl-Rónai und János Vaszary.  Bortnyik was one of the first followers of Lajos Kassák, with his lino-engravings published in the journal MA (Today) in 1918. In 1919, after the defeat of the Hungarian Soviet Republic, Bortnyik had to emigrate to Vienna. 

 Oskar Schlemmer, Triadisches Ballett (Triadic Ballet), 1922. Costume.

He broke with Kassák in 1922 and moved to Weimar, where he studied the principles of the Bauhaus. Bortnyik participated in De Stijl-Seminr of Theo van Doesberg and was interested in the theatre workshops of Oskar Schlemmer. In Weimar, Bortnyik produced abstract compositions which clearly show Schlemmer's influence:

 Sándor Bortnyik, The New Eve, 1924

In 1923, Bortnyik had his own exhibition in Berlin at Galerie Nierendorf. On his return to Budapest in 1924, he became a founding member, author and set-designer of the Green Ass avant-guard theatre company. Bortnyik also created a number of cutting-edge posters for advertisements in the twenties.

Sandor Bortnyik, Blue-Red Composition, 1919

Based upon the Bauhaus principles Bortnyik opened his own art school in Budapest in 1928. Victor Vasarely was among his pupils. Bortnyik soon became the leading figure of Hungarian advertisement art and Budapest one of its European hot spots. I particularly like the following poster of Robert Berény for the Modiano cigarette paper company:

Robert Berény, Modiano Poster, 1930

After the Second World War Bortnyik taught at the Hungarian Academy of Applied Arts and was active as the chief editor of the journal Free Art. He died 1976 in Budapest.You can see more of Bortnyik's works here on my Flickr page.

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