Judit REIGL

1923 (Kapuvar -Hongrie) - ()

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Biography

Judit REIGL
Judit Reigl (born Judit Némedy, May 1, 1923) is aHungarian painter living in France.

Reigl attended the Hungarian University of Fine Arts from 1942 to 1945 where she was the student of the celebrated painter Istvan Szonyl. She was awarded a scholarship from the Academy of Hungary in Rome which allowed her to study in Italy between 1947 and 1948. During her studies there she encountered Byzantine icons, the mosaics of Ravenna, the works of Giotto and Masaccio and the paintings of Venice's Giorgione and Titian amongst others.

In 1950, when the Iron Curtain had divided Hungary and Western Europe, Reigl succeeded in crossing into Western Europe after eight previous attempts. She explained that her home country of Hungary solely commissioned her to paint portraits of ruling Communist leaders such as Stalin, Rakosi and Gero, and so her defection to the West was necessary to preserve her artistic freedom. Reigl eventually reached Paris by crossing through Austria, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium where she lived from 1950 to 1963. In 1963 she moved to Marcoussis in France.

Four years after arriving in Paris, in May 1945, Simon Hantaï, a fellow Hungarian émigré, introduced Reigl to André Breton. Known as the founder of Surrealism, Breton welcomed Reigl into his circle of Surrealist artists and their influence is evident in her early work. She read authors such as La Comte de Lautréamont and Arthur Rimbaud, whose texts were seminal for the Surrealists. Reigl eventually moved away from Surrealism and towards Lyrical Abstraction. Georges Mathieu, one of the greatest French Lyrical Abstractionists, was one of Reigl's significant influences during this period. Both series' garnered Reigl much success in France as well as in West Germany and in the United States, where she familiarized herself with the American Abstract Expressionists such as Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline.

Reigl has exhibited her work in France since 1954. For her first exhibition, the prologue to the catalogue was written by André Breton. Her works are primarily found in the collections of French museums, including the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Musée National d'Art Moderne  and Musée de Grenoble. Her works were only displayed in Hungary starting in the mid-2000's.