István Nádler

b. 1938
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"The same goes for geometry as for gesture. Only the focus is elsewhere."

István Nádler is a member of the legendary Iparterv and Budapesti Műhely groups, besides being one of the most important representatives of the Hungarian neo-avant-garde movement and hard-edge painting. Born in 1938, he studied under Gyula Hincz at Budapest’s Academy of Fine Arts, from where he graduated in 1963. From the beginning of his studies, he was involved in a free group of young Hungarian artists, the Zuglo Circle, until 1968. The movement followed the tradition of French lyrical abstraction and modernist icons such as Kandinsky, Klee and Malevich.

He followed the Hungarian constructivist tradition and inclined to the geometrization of the painting space, though he was also interested in the influence of pure coloured areas. He chose individual shades intuitively and often placed them in marked contrasts strongly reminiscent of the colourfulness of Hungarian folklore. As forerunners to his works of the late 1960s (including Rhythm in triple, which he made in 1969), we can cite the hard-edge works which he saw at the American pavilion of the 1964 Venice Biennale and which had a great impact on his painting. At the same time, he discovered his own language of forms, one which he would work with until 1980. Compositionally, his paintings of this period are all characterised by closed forms that emerge within the edges of the painting and delimited systems organised from within moving outwards. Stylised folkloric elements were significant motifs appearing in his early geometric paintings. In the 1980s, his style was more strongly influenced by postmodernism and the newly proclaimed eclecticism, while his travels in the 1990s further enriched his palette and shapes. István Nádler is a recipient of Hungary’s Munkácsy Prize (1986) and the Kossuth Prize (2001), a member of the Széchenyi Academy of Literature and Arts, and in 2006 he co-founded the Open Structures Art Society.

Rhythm in triple, 1969

oil on canvas, 200 x 150 cm
on loan from a private collection