István Szőnyi (Hungarian, Jan. 17.,1894 - Aug. 30, 1960)

Oil on canvas, 63,5 x 57,3 cm
Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest 
István Szőnyi was first a pupil of Károly Ferenczy, then that of István Réti after the war. His early works show that he was in search of the unity of dramatic expressiveness and atmospheric plein air. His works were of great influence on his contemporaries. In the late 1920s, he settled down in Zebegény  (a village in Pest county) where his interest was attracted to atmospheric problems. Based on the Nagybánya tradition, he created a style of his own with sunny colours, soft tones and passive meditative lyra. His style was a typical product of the post-Nagybánya school between the two world wars. Due to his humanity, his works can be characterized by unique harmony.
A memorial museum dedicated to him opened in Zebegény in 1967. 

At the Peak
Oil on canvas, 180 x 110 cm
Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest

The picture is one of the most beautiful compositions with its peculiar taste in Szőnyi's oevre. The sight of the funeral procession put him under a spell. Short and stout figures typical of village people might as well appear in pictures of Pieter Brueghel the Elder, yet the snow-covered landscape and hills recall Zebegény. The picture represents a kind of transition between previous constructive compositions and less formal, softer ones of the future. Signs of restfulness without dramatic eruptions and reserve of Szőnyi observing only the world around him are present on this canvas, too.
Funeral at Zebegény
Oil on canvas, 100 x 125 cm
Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest

Tempera on canvas, 130 x 90 cm
Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest

Szőnyi deliberately avoided traps of changing subject matters and styles. He was faithful to Zebegény, a treasure for him. His personal experiences together with his efforts produced such masterworks as "Evening". His lyric realism and humanity unfold best in this picture. In the scene at dawn everything is present which belongs to harmonic life as Szőnyi sees it: a mother breastfeeding her baby, a tired and gentle father and a typical farm-yard around them. It is a quiet and peaceful evening in a village surrounded by hills. With this picture, Szőnyi created a 20th c. idyll, the symbol of healthy beauty, and a positive attitude to natural everyday life. It is a milestone in composition and harmony of colours in his oevre.
(Source: www.hung-art.hu)

c. 1930
Oil on canvas, 70x90 cm
 Private collection