Impressive portfolio of Hungarian expressionist Ruzicskay, 1936
György RUZICSKAY: VILÁGOSSÁG FELÉ [TOWARDS THE SUN]. 27 cliché prints of coal drawings. Oradea: 1936.
György RUZICSKAY: Világosság felé [Towards the Sun]. 27 cliché prints of coal drawings. Oradea: Circle of friends »Bihar« (letterpress: Sonnenfeld (Oradea); clichés: Tizian (Cluj) 1936.
4to (31:25,5 cm). [1 not numb. leaf (title, colophon)], [28 not numb. plates, each protected by glassine paper with printed caption)], [4 not numb. leaves (text, printer’s remark)]. Letterpress and cliché printing. Original white cardboard covers with inlayed gilt illustrated cover title, bound in traditional Chinese way with thread through 3 stitches.
Copy no. 170 (of 500 hand-numbered copies) of this scarce bibliophile edition, containing high-quality cliché prints on glossy paper depicting a series of 27 expressionist coals drawings by Hungarian-Romanian painter and graphic artist György Ruzicskay (1896-1993).
Contents, Illustration: Each of the prints is protected by glassine paper with printed caption. In addition 1 illustrated title leaf and 4 text leaves with poems are bound in, each printed with letterpres using different typography and ornaments.
Trained at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts during 1922-24, where he very probably inhaled the spirit of the Munich pre-war expressionists around Kandinsky and the »Blauer Reiter«-group, and studying in Paris in 1927, where he got to know Braque, Léger and Picasso, Ruzicskay consequently became a most remarkable and genuine protagonist of a late expressionist wave back in Romania and Hungary in the 1930s, and a pronounced »critic of modern machine work, deeply steeped by humanism« (Seregély). Ruzicskay, who was married to a woman of Jewish origin, is also known for hiding and supporting persecuted Jews in his Budapest apartment and studio during the Arrow Cross period, for which he was awarded a Righteous Among the Nations by the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre Yad Vashem.
The present work, awarded in 1961 with the »Grand Prix International de la Peinture« initially draws a gloomy picture of the conditio humana: hunger, poverty, disease, violence, war, grief, exploitation, ignorance, prejudice and racism have made human civilisation a rubble field. Subsequently Ruzicskay depicts a New Human, powerful, wise and beautiful, born out of the ruins of World War I and Capitalism, a patient, compassionate and kind worker, lead especially by justice, with the goal to create social understanding based on self consciousness, charity, freedom, equality and fraternity. Apart from the present Ruzicskay only one similar portfolio of the artist is known (»Szerelemkereső« [In Search for Love], 1935, 108 algraphies, where of 4 multi-coloured), once again executed in collaboration with Oradea based printer and publisher Sonnenfeld.
Condition: Cover in parts stained, first and last leave with minor finger-stains, 1 protection paper loose, otherwise well preserved copy of this outstanding and very rare item. WorldCat/OCLC, KVK and viaLibri Librairies trace only 2 copies in institutional holdings worldwide, one of them at the Hungarian National Library; no copies in Romania.
Reference: Vollmer IV; 194; György Seregélyi, Magyar festök és grafikusok adattára, 1988 cit. UBA 1.0516.098.