NANDOR VAGH WEINMANN
FOR SALE IN OUR COLLECTION
Born October 3, 1897 in Budapest, Nándor is the older brother of Elemer and Maurice Vagh-Weinmann. He came to Paris to present his work in 1931. He died on December 12, 1978 near Montereau (Seine-et-Marne) following an automobile accident.
He is the most colorful of the three “expressionist” brothers. Painter of figures, landscapes, especially open mountains, and bouquets in bright colors. He is also a religious painter and then finds the tragic condition.
Born in BUDAPEST on October 3, 1897, Nandor Vagh Weinmann belongs to a profoundly artistic people. Living in the heart of Central Europe where they came from Asia a millennium ago, the Hungarians have preserved a strong ethnic individuality whose mark is their very synthetic, non-Indo-European language. Resistant to secular invasions, they have kept the virtues of a very ancient humanity that have become rare in our modern world, especially since their way of life has remained essentially rural until today. In the arts they know how to express a generous, extreme sensibility and by the poetic verb, by the musical rhythms and also by a popular art of a richness, an exceptional harmony. Until the age of thirty-four, during the decisive years of childhood and youth, Nandor Vagh Weinmann was intimately imbued with popular life and the soul of Hungary. From the capital where his father was a jeweler and had a family of ten children, Nandor was the fifth, he knew first of all the suburbs, the populated districts, the rigors in winter of the cold and the snow. A very mobile existence made him acquainted with all of Hungary, from the Danube to Transylvania, its infinite plains and its wild mountains, its immense villages with ample low houses, and its towns which are still immense villages. The painter is passionate about rustic works, harvest scenes, beautiful folk costumes. Coming into direct contact with the peasants, he learned to know their soul. These contacts gave the artist a direct feeling for popular life and soul, as Millet once understood the peasants of Barbizon and Normandy whose existence he shared. What fascinated Nandor Vagh Weinmann above all were the festivals which enlivened the dreary life of the countryside, the circuses, the merry-go-rounds, the gypsies unleashing orgies of music, light and color. In the party, and especially the Hungarian party, the whole soul of a people, all its energy, its need for movement, for intensity, is expressed in its pure state and realizes the primary and essential form of what is called beauty. And as if melted at the party, there is the infinite steppe where herds of horses and oxen circulate where terrible storms sometimes roar where the seasons unfold their grandiose splendours.
The young Nandor Vagh Weinmann nourishes his sensitivity to his inexhaustible shows, both eternal and always new, a sensitivity which very early declared itself that of a painter. Since the age of fourteen he painted, and since then he never stopped doing it. Two of his brothers Maurice, two years his junior, who had a remarkable career similar to that of Nandor and later Elemer who became Maurice's pupil, also devoted themselves to painting, despite family obstacles. And the three brothers united by a common passion worked together in Hungary and later in France. Painting was so much in the blood of the family, as in the past among the Veroneses, the Breughels, the Lenains, the Van Loos and so many other artistic dynasties, that three sons of the Vagh Weinmanns became painters in their turn. One of these, Emeric, son of Nandor, today occupies an important place in the contemporary school. Nandor, at fifteen, was a pupil of the Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest where he worked diligently, then at that of Vienna. He painted many portraits, but also landscapes, compositions and, by his relentless work, managed to live from his brush, although married very young and having to overcome many hardships. He therefore knew the hardships and miseries of life. These strongly impregnated his vision as an artist and explain the thrill of humanity that runs through all his work. A particularly moving experience was reserved for him at the age of twenty. In the hospitals of Budapest he had to paint extraordinary cases, operations, frightful wounds, the deformations to which our poor body is subjected by traumas and physiological decompositions. In these circumstances, it is not a question of gratuitous art, of formal research but of immediate, authentic expressions of our flesh and our being. We know that Breughel Velázquez and Goya had been haunted by the sight of cripples and of madmen Géricault by that of corpses. But life is ultimately stronger than anything, and it is life that Nandor Vagh Weinmann has passionately observed and translated through all the places where he has always painted on nature. Nothing stopped him. It happened to him to paint, for example in front of the mill of Linselles by a weather so cold, that nobody could stay outside, and that he did not leave the place before having finished his work. Because he works constantly on the ground, under the sky, in the silence he loves.
His reputation is established. He exhibited at the national fair in Budapest, in the big cities of Hungary Szeged, Szombathely, Veszprém, Kaposvar. In 1931, like all artists in the world, he came to France. But unlike the others, he did not settle in Paris. Because Nandor Vagh Weinmann does not belong to this group of cosmopolitans that we call the School of Paris. He settled in Toulouse, where he remained for a long time with his brothers, and traveled throughout France, eager for new ties, exhibiting in the most diverse cities, in Bordeaux, Marseille, Lyon, Agen, Bayonne, Dax, Tarbes, Grenoble, Nice, Cannes, Strasbourg, Mulhouse, Colmar, Lille. He even crossed borders. He was in Saint Sebastian, in Geneva, and once in Egypt in 1927 where he painted King Fouad, another in Rome in 1959 where he painted the portrait of Pope John XXIII. Naturally his career led him to appear in Paris where his main exhibitions were those of the Charpentier gallery in 1933, the Paris gallery in 1947, the Durand-Ruel gallery in 1951, the Bernheim-jeune gallery in 1954 and 1957. Paintings by him have appeared in the great salons, at the Artistes français, at the Salon d'Hiver, at the Tuileries. Prizes have been awarded to him, the Wade Prize in 1948, the Colombes Prize by the Friends of the Arts in 1961. He has works in the museums of Budapest, Szeged, the Petit-palais (purchase of the city of Paris in 1947, from Agen, from Annecy, from Tarbes, from Grenoble (acquisition in 1937), from Toulouse (acquisition in 1946. the State bought him a canvas in 1949. From 1949 to 1951 he executed a very important series of paintings inspired by the Bible, and more particularly by the reading of "Jesus in his time" by Daniel-Rops, a series that he continued. An aspect of his activity that should be noted is the cycle of conferences delivered by him between 1955 and 1959, alongside his exhibitions in Bordeaux, Biarritz, Dax, Bayonne, Hendaye, where he endeavored to classify the pictorial evaluations and to specify the message he is aware of bringing to the men of today. Because the pure painter that is Nandor Vagh Weinmann never tires of being a great reader who meditates on great books. And this is one of the endearing aspects of his personality. He read the Bible a lot. His favorite authors are Flaubert, Balzac, Anatole France, Dumas, above all Victor Hugo, and at the same time the Russians Tolstoy, Dostoieewsky, Pushkin, Tchekow, Pasternak. All in all, he is attracted to the great romantics, those who have delved into life and unearthed high morals. He is not even afraid to explore the esoterics, Brahmanism, and Yoga. But this concern for the human conscience does not make him lose contact with nature and the people. Most of his life, since the last war, has been spent far from Paris in the Basque Country, where he has found landscapes and a moral climate that suit him particularly well. It is quite remarkable that this Hungarian found in all of France the region which has undoubtedly preserved, discreetly but surely, the resolutely archaic traditions, the proudest, noblest and most intransigent soul. The career of Nandor Vagh Weinmann, long, long filled with material successes, is characterized first of all by loyalty to the Hungarian soul, resistant to the trials of a continuous and dramatic struggle, both unlucky and tenacious, revolted, sad and cheerful, always extreme and generous. The great poet Ady, of whom he was familiar, did he not define it well when he wrote "On the banks of the Danube there never lived a happy people"
Galerie Charpentier, Galerie de Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel, Galerie Brenheim-jeune
Budapest, Petit-Palis (Paris), Szeged, Agen, Annecy, Tarbes, Grenoble, Toulouse