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Julius Komjaty
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Painter and etcher; born Hungary 1894 Although Komjati Wanyerka lived most of his life in his native Hungary, the ten year period he worked and lived in London had a profound impact upon the course of British etching. Born in Hungary, Komjati was the son of an inspector of forests. While still a student he was drafted for service during the First World War. In 1916 he was captured by the Romanians and was imprisoned for a period of sixteen months. He was one of two thousand survivors of an original sixteen thousand captives. Kenneth Guichard writes. The terrible experiences he suffered found poignant expression in the etchings, some of which are not calculated to appeal to those in search of comfortable subjects. Such expression of intense spiritual emotion is rare enough in any school." . * ( Kenneth M. Guichard, British Etchers: 1850-1940, London, Robin Garton, 1981, pp. 45 & 46.)
After the war, Komjati produced a number of etchings and established a local reputation which induced the Hungarian government to grant him a scholarship to further his studies in England. Arriving in London in 1928, Komjati studied briefly under Malcolm Osborne at South Kensington and began to publish his etchings with the publishing house of H. C. Dickens. In total, seventy-four Komjati etchings were published in London before his return to Hungary (c. 1938)
Komjati was one of the few foreign members elected to both the Society of Painter-Etchers and the Royal Engravers. In his etched art he proved to be a master of both figure studies and landscapes and was appreciated much more by his fellow artists than by the public. No matter what Komjati chose to etch, his art was guided by his rare spirituality. As one can see in this miraculous etching, one would have to go back to the art of Samuel Palmer to find such intense, spiritual expression in landscape.