The auction will comprise around 400 lots, which finely represent the comprehensive and significant oeuvre of this famous artist. Endre Nemes was the artist behind one of the most exciting bodies of work in Europe from the late 1920s onwards.
Endre Nemes was born in the small Austro-Hungarian town of Pécsvárad in 1909. He later moved to Prague, where he began studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in 1930. It was here, under the tutelage of Professor Willem Novák , that he developed into a complete artist. On account of the repeated redrawing of national borders and a rather nomadic lifestyle, Nemes was obliged to learn several languages – including Hungarian, Slovakian and Czech – from a young age. It is not unreasonable to assume that this mix of different languages had an influence on his painting, infusing it with a special language of symbols and signs.
At the age of 20, Nemes had already made a name for himself as a caricature artist and journalist for a number of daily newspapers in Prague. In the early 1930s, the city became an important hub for members of the German intelligentsia, including Thomas Mann and Bertolt Brecht, who were fleeing the rise of fascism. The political unrest in Europe continued to rise unabated, and Endre Nemes was forced to leave Prague in 1938. His next port of call was Helsinki, where he stayed for eighteen months, teaching at the Liberal Art School and participating in two collective exhibitions at the Art Centre. He was expelled from Finland in 1940 but succeeded in gaining entry to Norway. When the German forces invaded he was forced to flee once more – this time to Sweden, where he arrived in early summer 1940.
He remained living and working in Sweden, in Stockholm, for the next 45 years, helping to introduce significant changes in the world of art. In parallel with his painting, he participated in numerous debates and discussions. With his sharp intellect and his solid base of experience and education, he represented a multicultural approach, a European cultural environment. In the 1940s and 1950s, he painted a variety of fascinating works that challenged the public in ways not previously seen before, including Barockstolen, which is currently owned by Moderna Museet.
One of the biggest contributions Endre Nemes made to art and culture in Sweden was as a teacher at the Valand School of Fine Arts in Gothenburg, a post he held while simultaneously completing of a number of monumental works commissioned from him. After eight years as an artistic leader and source of inspiration at Valand, Endre Nemes stepped down from his position there in 1955.
His years in Gothenburg had been intense, and his commitment to the school had, to an extent, required him to neglect his own work as an artist. Nevertheless, he had found time during this period to paint, devote himself to scenography and work with enamel and stucco lustro for public decorations. Nemes left Gothenburg, settled in Stockholm and started to work intensively on his painting, primarily focusing on the abstract form. Never before had he achieved such public success as he did in the early 1960s! However, he felt a powerful urge to renew, to "start again".
What Endre Nemes created next was perhaps one of the most significant ideas in his artistic oeuvre. He discovered an incredibly sophisticated means of expression that magnificently matched his ambiguousness and irony: collage. It could be said that this period of new creativity began around 1965, and collage would continue to play a key role in the art of Endre Nemes for the next 20 years. In his collages and paintings, he lets man and machine battle in the same world of images – sometimes wicked and ugly, sometimes beautiful and poetic.
The Endre Nemes auction comprises around 400 works and neatly represents the artist's comprehensive and multifarious body of work. It includes some of his captivating caricatures from the late 1920s and early paintings from the 1930s. It also features works from the 1940s that incorporate a conglomeration of architecture fragments, tools, fruit, musical instruments, geometric bodies, etc. along with informal paintings and strong, enigmatic collages from the 1950s and 1960s. Finally, it includes his monumental and enigmatic oil and acrylic works from the late 1970s and 1980s. In addition to all these, the auction contains a collection of very interesting drawings and graphic works.
Presentations of the Endre Nemes auction will be held in September in Prague, Paris, Gothenburg and Malmö.
Auction: 3 October
Viewing: 27 September–2 October
Nybrogatan 32, Stockholm, Sweden
Curator: Pierre Olbers Saint Bellies, tel. +46 733 406 761 or e-mail