Bela De Kristo



Bela de Kristo was born in Hungary on the 15th of May 1920. He studied at the Theresianum Vienna University and in 1939 began his further studies at The Budapest School of Art. During his time as a student, de Kristo was involved in many other enterprises; he designed stage settings for films and took an active role in the first cinema club in Hungary. His cartoons were regularly published in a national Hungarian newspaper.

After graduating, Bela de Kristo moved to Paris where, in 1947, he organised an exhibition of Hungarian artists. Whilst there, his home country was occupied by the Soviet army, and consequently he decided to settle in Paris. De Kristo regularly frequented the Academy Julian and La Grande Chaumiere, and in 1948, he took part in a public exhibition at the Duncan Gallery. In 1950, he exhibited in The Canes Exhibition at the Carlton Gallery. De Kristo set up a vast workshop in 1954 on la Rue Vignon, which became a creative hub where one could find professionals from the press and publishing as well as art world. During this time, many of de Kristo’s drawings and cartoons appeared in Paris Match, although he was primarily focusing on painting. 

Bela de Kristo’s work is hugely varied. Over the years he constantly renewed his mode of expression, making models and photomontages, illustrating children’s books, cartoons and theatre stage sets. Using a rigorous Cubist format, de Kristo’s work displays an extra sensitivity and a softened vision of the world. During his early period, he was greatly influenced by the Russian Constructivists, such as Malevich, as well as Picasso’s synthetic Cubist works, but there is an ever-present humour in his work, sometimes naïve in its display. De Kristo invites the viewer to consider surface beauty along with the subjective depth. He was a lover of colour and, harmonising shades and tones, he broke the lines and curves of objects and light into the multiple perspectives of Cubism.