Hungarian ceramics is unique in the world of art. Among its representatives is János Németh, whose characteristic creations, inspired by pottery and folk tradition, have made him an outstanding Kossuth Prize and Munkácsy Prize winning ceramic artist, Artist of the Nation, and who is a native of Zalaegerszeg.
János Németh is the descendant of a potter dynasty, who amalgamates the traditions of folk pottery with modern ceramic concepts. To him, the potter’s wheel is still a work tool and a source of joy. In all his life he has cultivated the traditions and the spirit of folk pottery; at the same time, he makes his ceramics in a unique way from sections of cylinders, spheres and cones. Feeding on the roots of folk art he uses the treasure of forms and spiritual heritage of folk artists and shepherd carvers which he elaborates with a unique technique and often put in a new context.
He studied in Budapest, at the College of Applied Arts, where he was a student of sculptor Miklós Borsos and ceramic artist István Gádor. After getting his degree he returned to Zalaegerszeg. He has been functioning as an independent artist since 1969; he has made countless architectural ceramics to fulfil orders from both Hungary and abroad.
Göcseji Museum has arranged a permanent exhibition for his 200 works of art in three rooms, which is a wonderful illustration of János Németh’s activity.
Sacred creations hold a central place in his collection: besides the crucifixes the figure of Christ, St. John The Babtist and St. Francis of Assisi also appear. In the art exhibitions animal portrayals – horses, crows, deer and goats – are highlighted as they play an important role. His statuettes are inspired by the world of folklore, and the same is true for his jugs, dishes and embellished bowls. His designs have a character of their own and they are unmistakable: all basic shapes of his stout figures are bodies of rotation made on potter’s wheel or their sections.
The art of János Németh is especially important to the people of Zala because it relates specifically to Zala county, the Göcsej landscape. The precious patterns of the ceramic artist are rooted in the world of the peasants’ thoughts who lived here; in his works of art the beauty of the Zala landscape and the constructed heritage appear.
Miklos Borsos sculptor, his one-time master who opened his exhibition in the Art Gallery in Budapest, in 1976 said, „The warmth of some earthenware oven welcomes me, and the magic of true art invites me to stay.”
We would like You to experience this atmosphere too, while you are visiting the art exhibition!