Judit Reigl's exhibition in Kunsthalle

Centenary exhibition from all periods of her life
The exhibition entitled Judit Reigl 100 – Judit Reigl and the Second Paris School can be viewed from 4 October at Kunsthalle (Műcsarnok), the institute of HAA. The exhibition was opened by the President of the Republic, Katalin Novák, and greeted by György Vashegyi, President of HAA as well as György Szegő, Director of Kunsthalle. Gábor Richly, Secretary General of HAA was also present at the opening ceremony.
In his speech Katalin Novák recalled her meeting with Judit Reigl ten years before, about whom the image of a strong, brave, uncompromising woman, an artist always looking for a new path emerged. Reminding of Judit Reigl's life journey and her emigration after the Second World War, the President of the Republic quoted the words of the artist: "You can live in darkness, but you can only create in light." Judit Reigl did not want to be world-famous, but she became one, her paintings are now preserved in the world's largest and most important contemporary public collections," Katalin Novák pointed out. She emphasized that the artist lived part of her life in the 20th century, burdened by wars and destructive ideologies. Even in the present wars can make you realize the true values of life. "Perhaps we are now beginning to truly appreciate the fact that we can live in freedom and peace. Let's take care of it!" he warned. "In Judit Reigl's paintings the Hungarian, the French and the universal are united and dissolved in each other. She connects our cultures and raises them to a higher level together," remarked the President of the Republic. He added that "it is not a coincidence that a number of Hungarian artists tried to study and create in France, and it is also not a coincidence that famous representatives of French art from time to time find a place in Hungarian museums. The Museum of Fine Arts - after Cézanne and Matisse - is now paying tribute to Renoir, one of the world's most famous impressionist painters," she called attention to an exhibition next to Kunsthalle. "Judit Reigl was an important herald of women painters in France and Hungary, although she he didn't consider her a female painter, just a painter who happened to be a woman," concluded Katalin Novák.
György Vashegyi, President of HAA quoted the late poetess, Ágnes Nemes Nagy: "Every artwork is a battlefield. It is the battlefield of consciousness and sight, the abstract and the concrete, the artistic (psychological) law and the given environment. Without resistance there would be no struggle and without struggle, I feel, there would be no art." György Vashegyi said that the communist takeover forced Judith Reigl to emigrate, but as the artist herself put it, she did not change nations, but chose freedom. Her wide-ranging literary, philosophical and musical education and mother tongue connected her with his native land throughout the decades she was not separated from his country in this way, but carried it in her heart and soul. Another secret of her lifework was her adherence to fundamental artistic values. In addition to praising the recent Hungarian Nobel laureates Vashegyi remembered the seventy-eight-year friendship between Judit Reigl and the recently deceased academician and art historian Katalin Dávid. Besides mutual friends, talent and passionate commitment to art they were connected by the war hardships they experienced together, and then by the years of hope ready for action, which were finally broken down by unfavorable political changes, said Vashegyi. The President of HAA recalled that twenty years before  Kunsthalle hosted the first large, comprehensive exhibition of Judit Reigl's lifework, and added: "the exhibition that has just opened is the richest overview of this monumental oeuvre in Hungary alongside the exhibitions of the Kiscell Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts."
György Szegő, the Artistic Director of Kunsthalle recalled that when the young Judit Reigl arrived in the French capital her artistic sensibility made up for her lack of local knowledge. The Second Paris school, which brings together several types of abstract painting, was open to accepting artists from abroad so that they could interpret the new visual language of their homeland, confined to the diaspora, he added. In addition to Judit Reigl, this movement welcomed Simon Hantai, Endré Rozsda, Ferenc Fiedler, Alfréd Réth, Géza Szóbel and Victor Vasarely, while Paris became the cultural capital of the world again for a while, he said. György Szegő pointed out that in addition to the more than eighty Judit Reigl paintings presented, the exhibition also includes works by prominent artists of the Second Paris School, such as Jean Dubuffet, Hans Hartung, Jean-Paul Riopelle and Jean Degottex.
November 2, 2023