Design & Decoration S04 ep20 : Kalman Maklary, Maklary Gallery, [Budapest]

Interview with Kalman Maklary

The Kálmán Makláry Fine Arts gallery is dedicated to the artists of the Post-War School of Paris. Especially the Abstract and Surrealist movements with artists like Judit Reigl, Simon Hantai, François Fiedler, Alfred Reth, Arpad Szenes, Endre Rozsda and Victor Vasarely. Through it’s exhibitions outside the Budapest based gallery and it’s publications of books and catalogs, it has worked towards reviving unquestionably important artists, some of whom the last decades had unfortunately forgotten. The gallery works with museums and art collectors and develops with them long-term relationships of trust. Today, some of the gallery’s artists have already rightfully found their place in the major modern art museums around the world. It also handles and represents works by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Paul Kallos, Geza Szobel, Etienne Sandorfi, Tibor Csernus, Andre Balint and Kamill Major.


So this is Kalman Maklary from Budapest. Our main objective is to discover and promote Hungarian artistes. Since the beginning
of the century some started to offer that. Artist like Judith Raine and Simon Hantai

I used to work and live in Paris and I started collecting art in Paris. I met a lot of Hungarian artists who were living 20 30 40 years
in Paris. And all those artists I met, they inspired me not to just collect but to represent them, and do books catalogs for them
and promote them.

Paris was really the center of everything at the turn-of-the-century. All these artists who lived there were very original. They
worked together with other artists who became very big. But they were in the same school. Artists in Hungary that I’ve seen,
same for the other East European countries. You know the artist to stay there, the distance and Iron Curtain slowed them down.
It was years and years and years that they reached that level of our form.

Henry Dunay Jewellery

I worked in a museum in California. It was in San Diego that I really started to fall in love with art. And I got a job from the
Hungarian government for Paris to work in the Hungarian Institute to organize exhibitions for artists and try to promote them.
So I lived in Paris for a while, I went to a lot of openings here and there. I met a lot of Hungarians, I met collectors of course I
met artistes you know because of my work. And there were two artists who meant a lot to me, one of them is EtivotThanos, the
other is EtianShandofi. Both of them I still represent and both of them died recently in the last few years. Both of them
figurative artists but they gave me so much insight to their art and even their method of painting.

Shandofi, we have been very good friends for eight years. And we were always joking you know if we have a gallery one day I
would probably represent him. Before he died he gave me a very big push because he broke his contract with his American
gallery and he came to my gallery when I just opened my gallery. So I started to understand how the artists have to work. You
have to be international, you have to promote the artist’s publication, you have to be in contact with museums trying to
organize exhibitions for your artist.

Judith Raine, I met her seven years ago. It took me three years just to meet her. She doesn’t actually meet people, she lives
outside of various like 25 km, very modestly 25 m² little studio and she paints there are lots today. She’s 80 and she’s climbing
the ladder every day still. When I started to work with her there was no interest whatsoever for her work. She had a gallery
before but they never showed the early works the 50s, which I think is very astonishing. And when I started to work with her it
was quite difficult because I was selling paintings like in inaudible [17:03]. I had a very nice couple, they fell in love with one of
the large paintings I showed there from Judith and they brought the money. And Judith told me who are these people I want to
talk to them. The new collectors had to talk with her a hour and a half. She wanted to make sure you know if it’s going to the
right place, what other paintings they have, where they are going to put it in their house. So she got the layout of the house,
what collection they have. And after over an hour of talking she said “These are nice people I can sell to them”. And still up until
the today if I have a collector interested, she wants to know everything.

Henry Dunay Jewellery

She lives all of her life in poverty. She doesn’t need money. Nobody was really interested in her work for so many years and
when I met her she was already 80 – 82. So the only important things for her in life and what is keeping her alive that she is still
working and her paintings where are they going to go. The last 7 years her paintings went to major museums like Metropolitan,
Kate Modern, Guggenheim. The Centre Pompidou [18:17] was going to do a separate exhibition for her, so now she has trust in
me very much and she is always calling me every day to discuss the smallest matter about her art.

I’m preparing a book about Simon Hantai, which I think is one of the greatest painters in France in the 20th century second half.
It took me eight years to meet him. He came to Paris 1948. He was ainaudible {18:52] painter after that an abstract painter. And
in 1982 he went to Venice, now in France. He thought the art there is so commercial he didn’t want to deal with it. So in 1982 he
finished painting, he closed his inaudible [19:09] and he didn’t work anymore. Only philosophical writings but didn't do any
more paintings. So it took me eight years to meet him. I traded to perceive him to try to publish a book for him. So he received
me, seen me, and all the timehe just wasn’t very interested. But you know SantrePompedu wanted to do at least 2 times. Big
retrospective exhibition, for him this started and he cancelled in the meantime. Although the Hungarian national wanted to do
a big exhibition and he canceled it. He died 3 ½ years ago and now the family arrives it’s very important to do good.

Henry Dunay Jewellery

So I’m publishing my first book on Hantai right now from the inaudible [19:58] 1949 and the 1959 which is the first period when
he came to Paris. And after hefrom 60 he did a very different so-called Pre-Ash technique up until 82. But this period is very very
unknown for collectors and for museums. There are a few museum pieces in their but very few, SantrePompedu and other
pieces.Guggenheim but very few. Most of the people in France or in the States know some of this work after 1960. So this book
is going to be a big revelation. I find marvelous paintings in private collections which have been there for 50 years, but nobody
has seen it and we’re just about to publish it.

I just found a very young soft spoken artist in Paris. A friend of mine exhibited her six months ago. I went to the opening and I
just fell in love with the painting. I bought four and I proposed her an exhibition in Hungary which after 2 months I made it. It
was very successful, commercially too inaudible [21:04] in January and is going very well. But I see so many artists coming to me
presenting their work and I try to keep a distance.

Henry Dunay Jewellery

A lot of artists are very commercial. They really do it for a living. But the true artists they do it because they are born to do it.
You know it’s no question if they make money or they don’t make money. I mean it doesn’t matter. It’s that they are pure in
heart and it’s the most important thing to create something to channel that energy or gift they got through the art. I know a lot
of artists measure themselves by how much they sell their paintings. And that for me is not what it should be about.

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Kalman Maklary, Maklary Gallery, Budapest