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Kónya, Sándor

1891 - 1976

Sándor Kónya was a graphic designer, active during the 1910s.

He studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts, and his style was determined by realist or naturalist characteristics after graduation. He had left Budapest in 1909 to study architecture at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris; at night he attended art classes at the Colarossi Atelier. He returned to Hungary in 1914 and served in the army in World War I.

In 1919, he designed posters for the new regime, the Hungarian Soviet Republic. He created numerous typographic propaganda posters. His famous poster with the title Te! Sötétben bujkáló ellenforradalmár, reszkess! (You! Counter-revolutionist hiding in the dark, tremble!) shows an officer who terrifies every enemy of the red revolution. This was the first Hungarian poster on which a character points at the viewer.

He also designed a poster for the Jewish newspaper Egyenlőség (Equality) in this year. After he left Hungary, he worked mainly as an architect and as a film set designer but besides he was also teaching and writing publications.  After leaving Hungary, he first fled to Vienna, and started working in the film industry. He worked with Fritz Lang and Alexander Korda as well, as a set designer.

In 1921 he moved to Berlin and then in 1922 to Paris, where he continued to work as a set designer. He also exhibited his lithographs. In 1923 he went to Panama where he designed three cinemas. Then moved to New York in 1924, and worked with Charlie Chaplin, and later again with Korda.

In 1928 he moved to South Africa. He continued to work as an architect, and opened an art school. He later traveled in Asia, lived in Japan, China and Hong Kong. He worked as a teacher and writer. He returned to South Africa 10 years later, and stayed there, working as an architect until 1959.                                                                                                                         .