Kazinczy János Antal began to study drawing at age 11 in his native city of Temesvár in a private school. Parallelly, he learned the craft of engraving as well. When he was 18 he enrolled in the Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest, where he was taught by Rudnay Gyula. In 1935 he had to abandon his studies due to compulsory military and work service in Romania. In 1938 he worked as an engraver in Nagyszeben and married actress Schütt Franciska. In his spare time he painted and made drawings of the Transylvanian countryside. These pictures got destroyed during a bombing raid of Bucharest. During the war, Kazinczy joined the anti-fascist resistance.

 

In 1945 a new period developed in his art and Transylvanian motives re-appeared in his works. During this period his paintings were characterised by strong lines and restrained colours. He became also the editor of the newspaper „Szabad Szó” (Free Word) in Temesvár between 1944-45. His political activities expressed in „Magyar Népi Szövetség” (Hungarian people's alliance) were frowned upon by Romanian authorities. To avoid inprisonment, at the beginning of 1947 Kazinczy escaped to Hungary having to leave behind in Temesvár his  wife, his 2 year old son János and all his art works.

 

In 1949 he became a teacher at the School of Applied Arts in Budapest, but soon after in 1950 was released from his job due to the influence and denigration of soviet critics („decadent” „formalist” „Parisian school”). Nonetheless he was appointed editor of „Szabad Művészet” (Free Art) under the strict surveillance of those in power. In 1953 Kazinczy gave up his editorship and earned his living by his paintings of landscapes, portraiture and still life. They appeared in numerous exhibitions. In the summer of 1956 his son, Kazinczy János Árpád joined him. During the Revolution, his studio and most of his works got damaged and for the third time he experienced the destruction of a section of his life’s work. He was among the first ones to be artistically inspired by the Hungarian revolution of 1956. His pictures of this event were often on display after the change of the regime.

 

Having found the political and personal outlook hopeless, he decided to emigrate with his son to West Germany via Austria. 10 years later he settled in a village called Rocbaron in Southern France. He had a number of successful exhibitions in Paris during this time. He used the enamelling technique he learnt in Germany and his work became more abstract. Mediterranean landscape determined and influenced his art in France.

 

Due to his advancing age in 1995 he moved near his son, to Vacqueyras, keeping active in the following years. He created colourful wooden statues with his son’s help, as well as carefully composed pictures and spontaneous visions on paper. As his health deteriorated he had to move to a retirement home near Vacqueyras, but his creative spirit stayed alive as he spent 6-8 hours daily painting and drawing. His fresh visual approach, the richness of form and the harmony of the colours are outstanding in these late pictures. He was delighted, that 50 years after his emigration there were exhibitions of his works in Hungary.

 

Kazinczy János Antal died in January 2008 after a three months long illness.

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