Abstract Hebrew Prints on heavy mould made paper from small edition of 15. there is a facing page of text in Hungarian folded over. Hard edged geometric abstract prints in color based on the Hebrew alphabet done in a calligraphy typeface.
Jozsef Jakovits, Hungarian (1909 - 1994) painter, graphic artist, sculptor. Representative of modern art trends of the 20th century . Member of the Széchenyi Academy of Literature and Art (1993).
József Jakovits was the leading sculptor among Hungary's Modernist art group, the European School, whose brilliant program of exhibitions, lectures, and publications lasted from 1945 until 1948, when Communist cultural czars crushed it.
He worked for the Hungarian Royal State Iron, Steel and Machine Works between 1935 and 1944. In 1945, he met the widow of Lajos Vajda, Júlia Vajda , a painter with whom he married, so he joined the European School , where he was engaged in sculpture and in 1948 at the European School XXXVI. On the occasion of his exhibition, he issued with Júlia Vajda. In 1948, his studio was taken away because of nationalization, at that time he destroyed many of his statues, and could not work until 1950. From 1950 he worked as a colleague of the State Theater of Bán (1950-55) and then of Kisfaludy Theater in Győr (1955-58). In 1951 he received a small room from the Puppet Theater, where he made sculptures again. Meanwhile, he became a member of the Fine Arts Foundation. From 1961 to 1965 he made his only public artwork from the artificial stone to Napora , which was set up in the garden of the Korányi TBC Medical Center in Budapest in 1965. (He made plans for four more public sculptures, but they were not implemented, so they were destroyed by the author). He lived in New York until 1965-1987, and began painting there. His painting themes are inspired by the mysticism of Kabbalah and calligraphy of Hebrew writing. He both met in New York, his paintings remained in America, but he took his calligraphic and mysticism approach into sculptures. In 1985 he received US citizenship, but in 1987 he was repatriated and lived in Budapest until his death.
According to his own testimonies, painters influenced him ( Lajos Vajda , Max Ernst , Joan Miro , Pablo Picasso ), but above all the art of the prehistoric and natural peoples, the classical European culture felt a challenge, but also coped with its effects and incorporated it into his art.
Some of his first work was also made completely abstract compositions of wire and statues of the spirit of organic life, growth, breakout, and his works in the spirit of Hans Arp works. The first period of his art (1945-48) was extremely productive, nearly one third of his statues were made at that time. His works also included playfulness and lightness ( Hármas fókák , 1946, Dolphins , 1947), but the tragic bitterness ( Child Murder , 1947) and grotesque hardness ( Hitler , 1946). His statues are characterized by a varied spatial play of asymmetry and forms.
His career also included painting and drawings and the Revolutionary Series IX stands out. (1956), He also made photo collage montages, including Montage on a blue background IX, linoleum sections, screen prints. Six of the latter were published in an album, 70 numbered copies by the Corvina Publishing House in 1988. Inspired by Surrealism and Primitivism. His sculpture resonated with primal sexuality and spirituality, blending genders, animal and human characteristics, and sacred and secular themes. This stance was inherently political in conservative and communist Hungary, and Jakovits's overtly anti-totalitarian work was even more intolerable in Hungary. Grasping an opportunity to emigrate to the United States in 1965, Jakovits settled in New York City in 1965. He quoted Richard Huelsenbeck’s The Dada Drummer: “The artist must by necessity stand outside the social group.” Tidy and efficient, he lived ascetically, in poverty, in a 430-square-foot apartment in a public-housing complex on Water Street. To meet his modest needs of $175 per month—including his art supplies from Pearl Paint—he performed work provided by welfare three days every second week. He said a broad-hipped Jewish woman who worked for the city secured his survival package, which included being registered as a mentally challenged person eligible for aid. This surrogate status also inhibited him from seeking exhibitions and publicity. Despite his monasticism he had television—he watched, from the outside looking in. While America experienced its volatile 1960s, as 1968 came and went, Jakovits was absorbed in painting, having switched his main medium from sculpture. The chance encounter with the Hebrew primer in 1966 was a revelation to Jakovits. He turned from Surrealist symbolism to mysticism. He dedicated himself to absorbing and celebrating the esoteric knowledge of Kabala. For more than two decades, he rendered Hebrew letters and kabbalistic motifs, employing the flat colors, hard edges, and stenciled designs of Pop Art but in service of the sacred rather than the popular.
Jakovits is "little-known today even in his native Hungary, except in intellectual and artistic circles, where he is hailed as Hungary's foremost Surrealist sculptor. In the Hungarian National Gallery he is labeled 'post-Surrealist.' Jakovits viewed himself as a Primitivist, declaring his main sources to be 'cave painting, the tribal art of primitive peoples, and the archaic periods of the great religious cultures'--including Judaic lettering and mysticism."
There was an excellent book written about him by art historian Gary van Wyk titled József Jakovitz: Surrealist, Primitivist, Kabalist. some of this biographical material is drawn from the book.
Individual exhibitions :
1948 sculptures and pictures of Júlia Vajda, European School XXXVI, Üllői út 11-13, Budapest
1973 Júlia Vajda, Exhibition of Renée Kelemen, Chapel of Balatonboglár • New York, New York, Exhibition of his paintings, House of Living Judaism, New York
1980 • Exhibition Lajos Hatvany Museum, Hatvan
1983 • exhibition of sculptor, Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest
1988 • Meeting with the artist, Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest
1989 • Graphic Exhibition of Sculptor, Gallery Erzsébetvárosi, Budapest
1989 • I am who I am, Gallery Fészek, Budapest
1993 • Revolutionary series 1947-1956-1957, ~ Academy Exhibition, Balassi Bookstore, Budapest
1995 • Ildikó Bálint, ~ and Endre Lukoviczky, Workshop Gallery, Szentendre
1996 • Memorial Exhibition, Ernst Museum, Budapest (cat.)
1998 • Montage, Vintage Gallery, Budapest
2002 • Jewish Museum - New York Paintings
2009 • JAKI 100. József Jakovits was born a hundred years ago, 2B Gallery, Budapest.
Selected group exhibitions
1946 • The Hungarian Art Exhibition of Abstract Art, Free Organization of Fine Arts, Budapest • Hungarian Fine Arts Movement Exhibition I, Ernst Museum, Budapest
1947 • New Worldview, Exhibition of the Gallery to the Four Worlds, Bookstore of Mistótfalusi • National Exhibition, Budapest Gallery, Budapest • Abstract Art II.
1948 • 1948. New trends in Hungarian art, National Salon, Budapest • European School XXXIII. "We ourselves", Üllői út 11-13., Budapest • Exhibition of 90 artists, National Salon, Budapest
1949 • Hungarian Homes, Metropolitan Gallery, Budapest
1956 • Exhibition of 7 artists, Christian Museum, Esztergom
1957 • Spring Exhibition, Art Gallery, Budapest
1962 • Modern Architecture - Modern Fine Arts, Builders Club, Budapest
1966 • 125 Years of Hungarian Photography, Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest
1969 • Szentendre Art, Csók Gallery, Székesfehérvár
1972 • Hungarian Art, Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington
1973 • European School. Hungarian art of the twentieth century, Csók Gallery, Székesfehérvár
1975 • Today's Hungarian Artists, Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest
1976 • Dreams, Myths and Imaginary Landscapes, ML Gallery of Fine Arts, New York • Exposure. Photo / art, Lajos Hatvany Museum, Hatvan
1977 • Pictures and sculptures from 30 years of Hungarian art, Budapest History Museum, Budapest • Hungarian Art 1945-49. Hungarian art of the twentieth century, Csók Gallery, Székesfehérvár
1981 • Hungarian Art 1920-1970, Northeastern University Art Gallery, Boston • The fifties. Hungarian art of the twentieth century, Csók Gallery, Székesfehérvár
1982 • The collage in Hungarian art, 1920-1965, Kassák Memorial Museum, Budapest • Memorial of Ernő Kállai, Óbuda Gallery, Budapest • Respect the homeland. Hungarian artists living in Hungary II. Exhibition, Art Gallery, Budapest
1983 • Rottenbiller Street 1, Revolutionary Museum, Szombathely
1984 • The (unknown) European School, Budapest Gallery, Budapest
1987 • The "old" avant-garde. Exhibition of 8 artists from Szentendre, Workshop Gallery, Szentendre
1988 • Formal forms II., Gallery Fészek, Budapest
1989 • Other, Ernst Museum, Budapest
1990 • VIII. International Small Sculpture Triennial, Art Gallery, Budapest
1991 • Sixties. New aspirations in Hungarian art, Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest
1992 • Montage, St. Stephen's King Museum, Székesfehérvár
1994 • Kisszobor '94, Vigadó Gallery, Budapest
1995 • New Works, Metropolitan Gallery, Budapest
1996 • My Museum. Selection from the Vass Collection, Ernst Museum, Budapest
1999 • Selection from the Levendel Collection, Metropolitan Gallery, Budapest.
Works in public collections
Metropolitan Gallery, Budapest
Janus Pannonius Museum, Pécs
Kassák Memorial Museum, Budapest
Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest
Szombathely Gallery, Szombathely.