Alfred Reth

Alfréd Réth, born Róth (Budapest, 1884 – Paris, 1966) was a disciple of Károly Ferenczy in Nagybánya. After a long study trip in Italy with painter István Farkas, he arrived to Paris in 1905 and settled there permanently. He enrolled in the painting academy of Jacques-Émile Blanche, but his style was mainly influenced by Cézanne’s paintings, as well as by Hindu and Khmer art, which he had discovered at the Musée Guimet.   


In 1910 he exhibited at the Salon d’Automne and in 1912 at the Salon des Indépendants. That same year, he participated in an important Cubist art exhibition in Budapest where his works were shown alongside those of Fernand Léger, Jean Metzinger, Robert Delaunay and Vassily Kandinsky. In an exhibition at Der Sturm the following year, he exhibited eighty paintings and drawings.


 His work paralleled Cubist works that led to abstraction. He explored the relationship between lines and background. His paintings from the 1920s are a game of colored circles, curves, and lights, in which one is challenged to find simplified forms of the human body. Réth became a French citizen in 1927. In 1933, he participated in the activities of the Abstraction-Creation group. Two years later he made his first multi-dimensional painting. After the war and up to the early 1960s he continued to make compositions of circles and arcs, but materials interested him more than forms. He began using sand, wood, gravel and charcoal and called these works “Harmony of Materials.” The figurative works made during the five last years of his life sum-up the entire experience he accumulated during several decades. His works were exhibited at the Abstract Art Exhibition, and as part of the first generations (1910-1939) of the Saint-Etienne Art and Industry Museum in 1957, but the most complete exhibition of his work took place in 1984 in Albi at the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum, celebrating his 100th birthday. A retrospective exhibitions at the Hungarian Institute in  Paris and of the Budapest Gallery both organized and curated by Kalman Maklary in 2003 led to a rediscovery of his work.