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Masterworks from Budapest. From the Renaissance to the Avant-Garde

From 18 February to 28 May 2017

Lucas Cranach, the Elder
Salome with the Head of Saint John the Baptist, ca. 1526-1530
Oil on panel. 88.4 x 58.3 cm
Budapest, Museum of Fine Arts
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Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection

Sándor Bortnyik
Composition II, Pink and Blue
ca. 1921
Gouache on paper
28 x 21 cm
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid
Numero de inventario
INV. Nr. 475 (1981.15)

More information about this work

Like Moholy-Nagy, the Hungarian artist Sándor Bortnyik was a member of the avant-garde group connected with the magazine MA, which was published initially in Budapest and later in Vienna by Lajos Kassák. After being forced into exile, Bortnyik began to admire Malévich’s Suprematism through the interpretations of El Lissitzky, whom he had met in Berlin in the early 1920s.When he moved to Weimar in 1922 and came into contact with the Bauhaus, the Constructivist environment of the school prompted his permanent shift from synthetic Cubism to geometric abstraction.

Composition II, Pink and Blue, an architecture in painting that bears the mark of El Lissitzky’s Prouns, is related to an album of six abstract prints published by the magazine MA in Vienna in 1920, in which Bortnyik’s language had already veered towards a constructive abstraction verging on Machinism. But furthermore, as John Bowlt and Nicoletta Misler state, by juxtaposing diagonals and verticals, circles and quadrilaterals, Bortnyik appears to devise a vocabulary similar to that addressed by Malevich in his illustrated book Suprematism. 34 Drawings, published in 1920.

Paloma Alarcó

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