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ZOLTAN SEPESHY (Hungary, Kassa 1898-1974 / act: USA)

Zoltan Sepeshy Zoltan Leslie Sepeshy was born to affluent Hungarian parents on 24 February 1898 in Kassa, Hungary. He was one of the leading émigré artists in the United States during the middle years of the 20 th century. From the mid-1930s through the late 1940s, Sepeshy had numerous exhibitions in New York, garnering favorable reviews, and at art museums elsewhere, especially in the Midwest, including the Toledo Museum of Art, the Butler Institute of American Art, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. He was the recipient of several prestigious awards for painting. Museums such as the Art Institute of Chicago and the Detroit Institute of Arts avidly collected his work. Sepeshy's art exemplifies changing directions and concerns of American art from the 1920s through the 1950s. At the same time, the singularity of his vision can be seen in an examination of his techniques, imagery and ideas. The key to understanding his achievement is his belief that the foundation of art was its humanity: "Art arises from the common needs and aspirations of all men and that compartmentalization is a hindrance to its growth." His work demonstrates he was always experimenting, broadening his vision to resist compartmentalization, which he saw as the stagnating confinement of the formulaic and cliché. Sepeshy also was important as a teacher and an administrator. In 1931, he became painting instructor at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. In 1947, after Eliel Saarinen's death, he became Director of Cranbrook, and in 1957 its President, determining the direction of the institution until he retired in 1966. The Muskegon Museum of Art first acquired a work by Zoltan Sepeshy in 1956, which was a gift of the Joseph L. Hudson Co. on the occasion of the firm's 75th Anniversary; the painting had first been seen at the Muskegon Museum of Art - MMA, Michigan, in 1948, as part of the "Michigan on Canvas" project and exhibition. Later, the Museum received additional paintings and drawings, including the painting entitled Noon in a Spanish Village, which was given by A. Harold Frauenthal in 1969; a tempera on panel painting entitled Portrait of Albert DeSalle, and a figure study drawing, both of which were Gifts of Friends of Art in 1989; and a self-portrait drawing in charcoal, from Michael Sepeshy. Indeed, the relationship of the artist to the MMA has been reinforced by the long presence of Zoltan Sepeshy's son, Michael, and his family, in West Michigan. In 1966, Cranbrook Academy of Art and the School of Art at Syracuse University presented the exhibition Zoltan Sepeshy: Forty Years of His Work, which offered insights into Sepeshy and his art.

[Megakles Rogakos 01/2009]

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES Frances Rich - La Gazelle 2010 The American College of Greece - ACG Art, Athens

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