Meeting Europe – Hungary : The Benefits of Emigration

Hungarian photographs from Nicephore Niepce Museum


Peter KORNISS “Mariage”, années 1970, coll. Musée Nicéphore Niépce © Peter Korniss

Photographs by:

Paul Almasy, Brassaï, Nora Dumas, Imeric Feher, Lucien Hervé, André Kertesz, François Kollar, Peter Korniss, Ergy Landau, André Steiner, Etienne Sved

Curated by François Cheval, Head Curator of the Nicéphore Niépce Museum


“…More than a formal revolution (the grammar of the new vision), the “Hungarian school”  [of photography] is the perfect adaptation of a form of commission. Photomontage, superimposition, solarization, the particular framing were not a Hungarian trademark; these techniques belonged to the ensemble of European modernism, which had seized hold of this vocabulary with great enthusiasm. The new economic and technical organization issued an invitation to photography and its new developments—applied photography, the book and the magazine in particular, which authorized all the possibilities of printing. The traditional frontiers of fashion, of the portrait, of the nude and of advertising were erased to the advantage of the printed image: a particle of reality playing with words, a free sign flapping about on the page. The utilization of the Rolleiflex or the Leica freed the gesture at the moment of taking the shot, and in the printing works, the rotogravure liberated the image from lead and from its casing.

For all of that, Hungarian photography has inscribed itself in the history of forms as an attitude, a position which is not unaware of historical and economic constraints but which, in surpassing them, defines an ethos of the profession of photography.”


François Cheval

(from the catalogue “Meeting Europe – Hungary” essay)