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Hans MattisTeutsch’s biography

Hans MattisTeutsch was born on august 13th, 1884 in Brasov a town in Transylvania, which belonged that time to Hungary (and following the peace treaty of Trianon in 1920, after the 1st world war it became part of Romania. His father was JánosMátis, a 29 years old tailor, who died of tuberculosis already before his birth. Thereafter his 20 years old mother, the saxonian descent Jozefin Schneider, daughter of a furrier-master, married already prior to his birth the similar saxonian descent Friedrich Teutsch, employee of the local brewery, who brought him up as his own child.

During his youth Hans MattisTeutsch was figuring under different combinations of the surnames of his bodily father, Mátis and of his stepfather Teutsch. In 1904, aged 20, he was taking on officially the double surname MattisTeutsch, composed from the surname of his stepfather Teutsch and ofthe surname Mattis, remembering in respect of sound to the surnameMátis of his bodily father. He was using this double surname,under which he became also known as artist, throughout of his life. The change of his surname and about simultaneous leaving of Brasov to Budapest are difficult to be interpreted else than as a sort of rebellion and expression of his dissatisfaction with the previously prevailing circumstances of his life.

His mother tongue was German and he learned Hungarian only as a teenager in the course of his professional education. The language of his essays and poetry was German.

Following the conclusion of the German-language elementary school he became student at the similarly German-language Honterus-Gymnasium of his native town Brasov.

1897 – 1901 Pupil at the technical school of wood-industry in Brasov.

1901 -1902 Pupil at the Royal School of Arts and Crafts in Budapest

1903 – 1905 Study of sculpture at the Royal Bavarian Academy of Arts in Munich

1905 – 1908 Stays in Paris, where he was temporarily earning his living through the carving of wooden picture-frames.

1909 he married GizellaBorsos the descent of a noble family and became teacher at the technical school of wood-industry in Brasov, where he was teaching – with occasionalinterruptions – small sculpture- and style-history until the end of his life.

1910 Birth of his daughter, Ella

1913 Birth of his son, János.

In the course of the early 1910 years he was temporarily living with his family and working as teacher of drafting at Ujpest, near toBudapest. Simultaneously he was painting and participating with his paintings at various art-exhibitions, however without any remarkable success.

1916 Death of his wife on the 16th of June in Brasso, due to tuberculosis.

Towards the end of that year he contacted in Budapest Lajos Kassák and his newly launched periodical MA (meaning “Today”) for literature and art. His works found spontaneously the liking of Kassák who has reproduced already in the 1917 February issue of MA two of his linocuts – and one of them on the front page – and two full page size reproductions of his paintings. In the following his works – all together 14 linocuts and 8 paintings will become the most frequently reproduced of any artists on the pages of MA

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during its less than 3 years long existence – until July 1919 – prior to its emigration to Vienna due to political reasons and anew appearance in Vienna in May 1920.

1917 Lajos Kassák established the exhibition-locality of his periodical MA in Budapest, wherein the first art-exhibition consisted of MattisTeutsch’s works, paintings and linocuts. Simultaneously MA has also created and published an album with 100 numbered examples containing 12 original linocuts ofMattisTeutsch together with 5 examples printed on hand-made paper and individually by the artist..

It was the same year in the course of which MattisTeutsch created a series of such landscape-pictures, which can be named in my opinion as “anthropomorphic tree representations”and from which approximately one dozen examples are known, about the half of which belong since the 1970s to Hungarian museums and one to a Romanian one.

1918 MattisTeutsch participated in September, together with BélaUitz, JánosKmetty, Lajos Gulácsy, GyörgyRuttkay and JózsefNemes-Lampérth with 5 of his paintings at the III. Collective-Exhibition of MA. In November of the same year, i.e. shortly thereafter, 62 of his works – linocuts, water-colours and 42 oil- paintings of him were exhibited there together with 3 sculptures of SándorGergely. Simultaneously on the pages of MA by Ivan Hevesy a full side long appreciation of his as entirely subjective characterized art, which: “is creating abstract artistic forms from real forms of nature, which are thereby ceasing to be the symbols of objects, and are becoming the expression of sentiments”

The Budapest periodical Jelenkor (meaning presence) reported in its 3- issue of 1918 of an exhibition of his works in Vienna. In July 1918 an individual exhibition of his works was shown in the exhibition locality of the German periodical “Der Sturm”and in its June issue one of his linocuts was reproduced.

1918 – 1919 was the time when his painting-series “Sensations” and presumably also plurality of his multi-coloured wooden sculptures representing human figures were created.

1919 he married the Austrian piano artist Marie Konrad met the previous year at the occasion of his exhibition in Vienna. In the course of the same year several exhibitions of his works were shown in different towns of Transylvania.

1921 to 1923 is the period when his series of paintings was created which have received from him later – in 1950, at the occasion of the birth of his grandson Waldemar – the excellent fitting title “Spiritual Flowers” from which actually – and on the basis of my newly established exact definition – some 20 recognized examples are known. .

At the “Der Sturm” gallery of Herwarth Walden in Berlin, where he was able to find a new spiritual home following the emigration of Kassák and his MA to Vienna. His paintings were shown there once again in 1921 in the scope of a joint exhibition with Paul Klee’s works and in the same year also in a joint exhibition together with works of Alexander Archipenko, Nell Walden, Marc Chagall and others clearly expressing the circumstance that he was considered to belong to the group leading international expressionists.

1923 to 1927 he participated in different exhibitions in several western European countries and also in Romania and in the Soviet Union. Simultaneously he created a series of very novel and individual series of slender and armless polished surface black female nudes in various sizes and positions from which also several brass and aluminum cast examples exist.

Around 1927 he concluded the seriesof his linocuts, started in 1916, from which some 170 examples exist.

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Around 1929 he moved back to Brasov, to his family and to his educational job at the technical school of wood-industryand interrupted his creative and exposing activity during a period of 12 to 15 years, i.e. untilthe end of World War II., which can be interpreted as his rejection of the than time events and especially of national-socialism. This assumption is substantially supported by the circumstance that in 1945, after the end of the war and the simultaneous political turn he resumed his creative activity – however restricted to painting without graphics and sculptures – in a style which was basically different from his previous one. With his painting activity he remained active until 1960, the time ofhis death at the age of 74. Important from the point of view of art historyare his paintings, linocuts and wooden sculptures created between 1916 and 1927, during which he created fundamentally novel and outstanding works.

As it arises from the above Hans MattisTeutsch was already 32 years old at the start of his conclusive artistic carrier which didn’t last longer than about 10years, a circumstance which doesn’t at all reduce its outstanding value and importance but rather lends to it – regarded from this aspect – a further rare and very special aspect.

Nicolas Eber / ebnic@sunrise.ch

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