Barna BASILIDES (1903-1967) The Gathering,... - Lot 1 - Ader

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Barna BASILIDES (1903-1967) The Gathering,... - Lot 1 - Ader
Barna BASILIDES (1903-1967) The Gathering, 1935 Oil on panel. Signed and dated lower right. 100 x 170 cm Provenance : Private collection, France. Exhibitions : - Exposition Universelle, Brussels, 1935 (Gold medal awarded to the painter) - Fair of Paris, 1936 (?). Bibliography : - Hungary, Exposition Universelle et Internationale de Bruxelles, Athenaum, Budapest, 1935, p. 24. Our painting is reproduced on p.22 and is partially shown on p.5. The catalog is entirely illustrated by the works of Barna Basilides. - MagyarIparmuveszet, 1935, p.176 to 180 (The Hungarian pavilion at the 1935 World Fair in Brussels). - Albert Van Der Linden, 12 Hungarian folk songs, with an illustration by Basilides Barna, Liège: Vaillant-Carmanne, 1936 (our panel reproduced on the cover). - 8 Festo és 8 Szobrasz, Nemzeti Szalon Müveszeti Egyesület (November-December 1936). Related works: - Panels of the decorations of the Hungarian pavilion for The World Fair of 1935 in Brussels (between 14 and 16 paintings perhaps). - Tapestries of the Office of the Ambassadors at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, 1936. Barna Basilides' reputation was already well established when he was entrusted with the interior decoration of the Hungarian pavilion at the Brussels World Fair in 1935. It was not the first time that this young painter-decorator had taken on such an exercise. He even seems to have made a specialty of it. From the beginning of the 1930s, the magazine of Hungarian Decorative Arts (MagyarIparmuveszet) reproduced in its pages paintings by Basilides, presented on various occasions: a Christmas party in Budapest, an agricultural exhibition, a jubilee of industrial arts, etc. Imbued with a very personal naivety and an immediately identifiable charm, Basilides' work could certainly contribute to the influence of Hungarian culture in such an important event as a World Fair. By building this imposing pavilion in front of which a colossus with arms raised to the sky was enthroned, Hungary seemed to have opted for a true patriotic demonstration. No less than 14 panels, perhaps 16 in total, were needed to cover the top of the walls of this room where, against a background of tasting Hungarian specialties, traditional costumes and headdresses were displayed. A vast decorative ensemble pays homage to the world of agriculture and crafts, to Magyar culture and its folklore. These are: the wedding, the pottery, the harvest of the grape for the manufacture of Tokaï, the preparation of the goulash... In each of these scenes where the painter deploys the elements of a typical ornamental vocabulary, small winged and flowery putti, remind us of the world of Walt Disney who, in his first cartoons, will draw excessively in this folklore universe from Central Europe. What became of this decorative ensemble after the dismantling of the pavilion? It is difficult to say for sure. The presence of a dozen or so paintings by Basilides Barna at the Nemzeti Szalon (National Exhibition) of 1936 in Budapest suggests, however, that a good part of these panels made their way to the capital, while a few others made their way to France. Perhaps they were reused for a new event. In any case, this is what the presence of later additions on our painting suggests. As if to better frame and complete his composition, the artist took the time to add trees on either side of the figures, while in the center, at the feet of the girl, a white flower has grown (see figure 1). Strengthened by the prestige of such an international demonstration, Basilides Barna was chosen the following year to create the tapestries for the Ambassadors' Office of the Palais des Nations in Geneva, a decorative ensemble offered by Hungary to the League of Nations (SDN).
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