Lajos Gulácsy

(1882 - 1932)

Lajos Gulácsy (1882-1932), a most original figure in turn-of-the-century Hungarian art, blazed an unparalleled trail with his visionary painting. His star-crossed life ended tragically in a mental institution, but in the decade and half before his ultimate breakdown in 1919, Gulácsy developed a unique pictorial language as remote from the Academic style as from the trends and isms of the period. Foregoing depicting visual reality, he sought to convey unknown sensations and surprising combinations “deliberately continuing God’s work.” Gulácsy had a touch of the mysticism of the English pre-Raphaelites and shared the sensibility of the Secession. He was enticed by the Renaissance, and later the Rococo. Still, on the whole, his oeuvre derives purely from his imagination.

Out of his “reminiscences, songs, memories, and mirages” on canvas, Gulácsy brought to life a bizarre dreamland he named “Na’ Conxipán,” and through the bold associations of his last paintings even found his way to genuine Surrealist content. He thoroughly abandoned himself to his dreams, knowing that without living to the hilt dreams are but irrelevant trinkets that would embellish life. Gulácsy suffered for his dreams through hardships, snubs, and disappointments, and descended to the deepest recesses of the senses to bring his visions to the surface. His life gave substance to his dreams, with which he then enhanced the world that seems dazzling and sensual, exquisite and joyous, or grotesque and even absurd in his paintings. His ethereally translucent and erotic female figures, his fatally enthralled lovers, his sorrowful Pierrots peeking beyond the veneer of existence, the magic vistas of his Italian wanderings, and above all, his dramatic reckonings with himself, his self portraits, are all masterly marks of a heroic artistic trajectory.

– Judit Szabadi, Gulácsy’s scholar, expert and monographer.


Paintings & Works on Paper

Lajos Gulácsy was a painter of mysterious fairy-tale moods and strange dream scenarios. He was the incomparable visionary of the past, whose painterly imagination and rendering ability had much more in common with the most up-to-date present, than with old art piled up in museums. This startlingly talented artist, like Csontvary, was a precursor of the visionary style which now seems to be the rage.

— Aurel Karpati, Journal of Pest, 1938

Inquiries welcome. Exhibition catalogue available.