The Art of Marcel Ronay

The early work of artist Marcel Kalman Ronay (1910 – 1998) depicted the decadence, sensuality and pleasure seeking of Vienna in the 1920s and 1930s. The most outstanding of his works from this period will be showcased in the exhibition ‘The Art Of Marcel Ronay, A New Objectivity in the Wake of World War I’.

Marcel Ronay was born in Hungary in 1910 to a Romanian Jew father and an aristocratic Catholic mother. The Ronay family lived a remarkable life moving from Hungary to Germany to Austria before finally settling in England in 1937 as both religious and economic migrants. From an early age he was recognised as a precocious talent and at age fourteen, he began an apprenticeship as a sculptor that was due to last some seven years. His work was outstanding, and he completed the course in less than four years. As a result of this impressive achievement, in 1927, having been acknowledged as a young genius, he was invited to study drawing, painting and sculpture at the prestigious Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna.

The exhibition at The Lightbox will feature the early works of Ronay created between 1926 and 1935 when he was in his late teens and early twenties. At this time Ronay worked in a variety of mediums including pen and ink drawings, wood cut prints and oil paintings. Despite his young age, the scenes depicted by Ronay at this time were of low-life, street-life, prostitution and deprivation. This vivid depiction of the corruption and pleasure seeking that came in the wake of the austerity of World War I became known as the ‘Neue Sachlichkeit’ or ‘New Objectivity’ movement which was pioneered by a group of Austro-Germanic realist artists that also included George Grosz, Otto Dix and Rudolph Schlichter.

The Art Fund Prize Gallery, 16 August 2014 – 5 October 2014
Free entry | Donations welcome

Image: Marcel Ronay (1910 – 1998), Scene in a Night Club in Vienna, 1930, image courtesy of the Victor Arwas Archive (c) Marcel Ronay Archive


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