István Nádler

Born November 29 1938, Visegrad
Lived in Budapest
István Nádler is a member of the legendary Iparterv and Budapesti Műhely groups and one of the most important representatives of the Hungarian neo-avant-garde movement and hard-edge painting. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts. After he graduated, he was granted a scholarship which made it possible for him to live and exhibit abroad and participate in a number of artistic workshops. He is a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and a winner of numerous awards. He worked as a visiting professor at the University of California. In 2006, he was involved in the establishment of the Open Structures Art Society.



From 1958 to 1963, István Nádler studied at the Magyar Képzőművészeti Főiskola/ Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest, under the leadership of professor Gyula Hincz (1904-1986). From the beginning of his studies, he was involved in the activity of a free group of young Hungarian artists Zugloi Kör (Zuglo Circle, until 1968). Sándor Molnár (1936), Pál Deim (1932), and István Nádler (1938) were the leaders of the movement which declaratively followed the tradition of the French lyrical abstraction and the modernist icons such as Kandinsky (1866-1944), Klee (1879-1940), and Malevich (1879-1935). It was also inspired by the work of Jean Bazaine (1904-2001). The group formed in 1968 and they jointly exhibited in 1966 (Új törekvések 1966: Fiatal festők bemutatója./ New Aspirations 1966: Presentation of Young Artists, Malév KISZ-Klub, Ferihegy) and retrospectively in No. 5. Galéria in Budapest in 1993.
After he graduated, Nádler accepted an offer from the Károlyi József Alapítvány/ Károly Foundation and took a study trip across Europe (1964). In the late 1960's, he became an active member of two most important Hungarian neo-avant-garde groups of the time: Budapesti műhely/ Budapest Workshop and the Iparterv movement.
In the early 1960's, Nádler presented himself through markedly expressive informal paintings with typical calligraphic aspects (Gesztus/ Gesture, 1960). He followed the Hungarian constructivist tradition and inclined to the geometrization of the painting space. However, he was also interested in the influence of pure coloured areas. He chose individual shades intuitively and often put them in great contrasts which were, in the given combinations, strongly reminiscent of the colourfulness of Hungarian folklore. Thus, the traditional and the innovative, the local and the interregional met in the area of the canvas (Hatásos sárga/ Active Yellow, 1968).
Studied at Hungarian University of Fine Arts (1958-1963)


Received grant from Károlyi József Alapítvány


Active yellow (painting)
Iparterv I (group exhibition, Budapest)


Iparterv II. (group exhibition, Budapest)


In 1970, he had a residential stay in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France, at the expense of the Károly Foundation again. Two years later, he received a scholarship from the Folkwang Museum in Essen, which exhibited his contemporary works in 1974.
Particularly in the early 1970's, Nádler's paintings were significantly reduced in terms of shapes and colours. In the previous period, he had also used polygonal lines and curves to divide the area of the painting. Now he only used straight lines. The shades of grey and beige dominated the colour tones. His style was comparable to minimalism. However, in his studies dealing with the relationship between illusion and reality he did not use sculptural modelling or three-dimensional space, but – as a painter – an areal construction through which he also reflected spatial objects. Such method allowed him to be on the edge of fiction; develop it at one time, disturb it at another, for example by the expressiveness of the artist's gesture. Nádler also used the principle of repetition, or phasing of elements; in several series of gouaches and paintings he examined the transformation in modulation of a single original principle in order to thematize illusion and make the illusion become one of the real elements of the painting, which can almost be considered three-dimensional (A szóközszerű II./ In the White Space II., 1977; A szóközszerű III. / In the White Space III., 1977).


Received grant from Museum Folkwang (1971-1972)


In 1973, with János Fajó (1937), Ilona Keserü (1933), Sándor Molnár (1936), and Imre Bak (1939), he established the Budapesti műhely (Budapest Workshop).


Istvan Nadler. Diagonalen. Gouachen (solo exhibition, Essen)


In 1978, Nádler took a study tour across Germany and Holland, and intensively participated in the operation of the Budapest Workshop. Spatial objects started to appear in his work. However, he preferred to use them for their materiality and their surface qualities (Cím nélkül/ Untitled, 1977). At the same time, they played the role of iconographic elements; for example Nádler quoted Malevich's black cross and modified its meaning by using two significant materials; iron and newspapers, symbolizing the stable and the changeable, the solid and the fragile. He is to be found within the context of the modernist tradition of the 20th century and, at the same time, he demonstrated its transformation, in terms of painting (the expression of metaphysical suprematism once again became a constructive element) as well as the history of art (the work became a sign).



Nadler Istvan festdmavosz kiallitasa (solo exhibition, Budapest)


The turn of the 1970's and 1980's witnessed a rather significant emphasis on authorship, the artist's self. Such inclination to expression was in accordance with the gradual refinement of Nádler's approach, his interest in the relationship between colour and line resulting in an almost lyrical harmony of the two components. The spontaneity and ease of the brushwork which was demonstrated in the renewed reflection of calligraphic motifs was, in his case, purposefully connected with the purism and minimalism of means. Music, background music, and themes played an important role in such development: Nádler's drawings in particular, were inspired by the compositions of Steve Reich (1936), László Vidovszky (1944), Péter Eötvöse (1944), and László Sáry (1940). The motif of temporality first appeared in his work; the completed works were a product of development and process. The use of the Indian ink technique was reminiscent of the scriptural tendencies of the 1950's. However, Nádler endeavoured to interpret them in the contemporary fashion (Zenei áldozat/ Musical Offering, 1989; Feketebács 3, 1989).


Nadler Istvan kiallitasa (solo exhibition, Budapest)
Nadler Istvan kiallitasa (solo exhibition, Székesfehérvár)



In the second half of the 1980's, István Nádler returned to colour. He used it in consideration of expression and subjectivity, which was more strongly emphasized by postmodernism, and also of the newly proclaimed eclecticism. Nádler created his own sign structure, painted symbols, by the use of which he transcribed quotations from the history of art; they were general figural motifs, absolutely original and empty, without a designated object. Malevich's black cross is probably the most important iconographic element. It proved the artist's awareness of his belonging to a particular tradition, which he even put at the same level as the traditional depiction theme or the spontaneous expression. In this meaning, Nádler's work is a concentration of the possible. It is a product of modernist development and the challenge of the limits of the medium, style, and technique; not through theory, but through the painting itself (Hommage á Malevich/ Tribute to Malevich series, 1984-1985).
Nadler Istvan gyajtemenyes kiallItasa (solo exhibition, Budapest)


Received award from The Munkácsy Mihály Prize


In front (painting)
Nadler Istvan kiallitasa (solo exhibition, Pécs)


Imre Bak / István Nádler (group exhibition, Komárno)


Received grant from Hungarian Academy in Rome
Nadler Istvan kiallitasa (solo exhibition, Budapest)


Received grant from The Villa Romana Prize
Roma — Nádler Istvan kiallftasa (solo exhibition, Budapest)



In the second half of the 1990's, István Nádler resumed his travels. In 1995, he visited Rome and Florence, and Lisbon a year later. His stay in a different geographic zone with different light conditions resulted in the enrichment of his more geometrized canvases in terms of colours and shapes (Firenze/ Florence, 1995; 1/a, 1996).
In 1999, Nádler worked as a visiting professor at the University of California in Los Angeles.


Istvan Nádler (solo exhibition, Kaunas)


Nádler Istvan kiallitasa (solo exhibition, Szombathely )
Istvan Nádler (solo exhibition, Turku)


After he won the Munkácsy Prize (1986), Nádler was awarded the highest state award, the Kossuth Prize, in 2001. Four years later, he was elected a member of the Széchenyi Irodalmi és Művészeti Akadémia/ Szechenyi Academy of Literature and Arts. He spent the year 2003 in Switzerland on a scholarship and then he lived in Berlin in 2004. He was involved in the establishment of the Open Structures Art Society (2006).
After 2009, Nádler's gestures became more relaxed. The impressiveness of his canvases resulted from the effective combination of black and bright colours. Nádler also used metallic shades, gold, silver, and copper in combination with delicate pastel shades. In 2011, his contemporary works (Feketebács series) were exhibited in the Vartók gallery in Budapest.
Nádler Istvan kiallitasa (solo exhibition, Budapest)
Istvan Nádler (solo exhibition, Saint-Tropez)
Art in Central Europe 1949–1999 (group exhibition, Barcelona)


Received award from Kossuth Prize
Nádler Istvan (solo exhibition, Budapest)


[István Nádler] (solo exhibition, Budapest)


Received grant from Landis & Gyr Foundation


Hommage a Ligeti György 80 (solo exhibition, Budapest)
[István Nádler] (solo exhibition, Budapest)
[István Nádler] (solo exhibition, Budapest)



Új képek (solo exhibition, Budapest)
Akadémiai székfoglaló kiállítás: Esterhazy-portrék (solo exhibition, Budapest, Regular Member)


Nádler István (solo exhibition, Budapest)
Fekete & Fehér (group exhibition, Budapest)


Nádler István. Új munkák (solo exhibition, Fellbach )



Transparency – Looking Through (group exhibition, Budapest)


Chance as Strategy (group exhibition, Budapest)



István Nádler (solo exhibition, Paris)
LUDWIG 25. The Contemporary Collection (group exhibition, Budapest)



Crossing Borders (The Grüner Collection) (group exhibition, Bratislava)

Muzeum umění Olomouc 2011-2016