Abstract by Ferenc Martyn Expand Icon

Ferenc Martyn (1899-1986)


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Framed size: 30.2 x 40.4cm; Framed size: 52.7 x 62.7cm
Watercolour on paper
Presented by friends of the National Collections of Ireland, 1972

Ferenc Martyn was born in Kaposvár, Hungary. His great-grandfather had emigrated to Hungary from County Galway sometime around the year 1800. In the 1920s he exhibited in France, Belgium and England as a member of the Paris-based group Abstraction-Creation. Martyn also illustrated editions of Flaubert, and Cervante. In 1982 he produced 24 illustrations for an edition of James Joyce's 'Ulysses' published to coincide with the centenary of the writer's birth.

His first master was József Rippl-Rónai. He learned art in Paris where he joined the group Abstraction - Création. In 1940, he returned to Hungary and settled down in Pécs. With his pictures, he wanted to understand and express the wholeness of his world. He was familiar with portrayal based on thorough observation, constructively, geometrical and spontaneous abstraction and managed to arrest views, memories and messages in painting and drawing. His colours and forms are borrowed from music and folk culture. He worked with plastic art and ceramics.

Martyn, or Martin, was the surname of one of The Tribes of Galway. Members include Wylliam Martin Fitz Thomas (fl.1504-1547); William Oge Martyn (fl.1566-1593); the Irish Confederate lawyer Richard Martin fitz Oliver (1602-1648); Father Francis Martin (1652-1714) of Louvain, who advocated the assasination of William of Orange in 1685; Richard Martin/"Humanity Dick" Martin, M.P., (1754-1834) Irish Volunteer, supporter of Catholic Emancipation, co-founder of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA); his son, Thomas Barnwall Martin (1784-1847), and granddaughter the writer Mary Letatia Martin (1815-1850); Edward Martyn (1859-1923), patron of the arts, playwright, co-founder of the Abbey Theatre; the writer Violet Florence Martin (1862-1915), Congressman John Andrew Martin (1868-1939), the Hungarian artist Ferenc Martyn (1899-1986). Lady Lavery, nee Hazel Martyn also claimed descent from this Galway family.

Ferenc Martyn returned to Hungary in 1940 where he died in 1986.

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