Jozsef Jakovits: Surrealist, Primitivist, Kabalist, 2014
Gary van Wyk
ISBN-13: 978-1936658299 – Language: English – Hardcover: 174 pages
This bilingual English-Hungarian publication was produced in conjunction with the eponymous exhibition curated by the author, art historian Gary van Wyk, at the QCC Art Gallery / City University of New York from December 9, 2014 through Februaury 22, 2015. The 174-page volume, including a bibliography and illustrated in full color, is the first book in English to focus on the art and life of Jozsef Jakovits (1909 – 1994), who was inspired by Surrealism and Primitivism.
His sculpture resonated with primal sexuality and spirituality, blending genders, animal and human characteristics, and sacred and secular themes. This stance was provocative in conservative Hungary during the early post-World War 2 period, and it became intolerable to the authorities during the Soviet era. His work, along with other avant-gardists’, was suppressed, but he was permitted to emigrate to the United States in 1965. Jakovits settled in New York City where he lived in relative obscurity, focusing on esoteric paintings concerned with kabalistic themes. In 1987 he returned to Budapest but did not achieve the belated recognition he had hoped for during his lifetime. He did not live to see the major retrospective of his work in 1996 in Budapest.