Szilvásy, Nándor

1927 - 2011

Szilvásy, Nándor
Szilvásy, Nándor

An important master during the flourishing of poster art in the 1960s. In addition to his graphic works, Nándor Szilvásy was also a well-known painter.

Between 1952 and 1958, Szilvásy made illustrations for childrens’ books, as well as illustrations for newspapers such as Élet és Irodalom (Life and Literature), Budapester Rundschau, etc. He was a member of the Papp-group since 1963. Between 1963 and 1983 he led Kontakt Design Studio and from 2000 he has been the art director at Új Horizont (New Horizon) magazine. In 1990, Szilvásy moved to a small city near Balaton Lake, Révfülöp, where he focused on painting and drawing. From 2004 to 2011 he was a member of the Hungarian Poster Association (MPT).

Szilvásy had been working in the field of poster art since the end of the 1950s. He joined the expressionist poster style that triumphed over the strict socialist realism. He builds his compositions by the use of sharp contrasts and picturesque effects. In the 1960s Szilvásy belonged to the generation which made the movie poster genre flourishing. He often draws caricatures or creates a surrealistic scene. He also uses photographs on the posters, or even montages. Some of his compositions are close to the Dadaist montage art, as they show a special sense of irony and humour.

In the 1970s, Szilvásy prefered to combine photomontage with paper cut and drawing in a very creative way. Some of his paper-cut works reflect the common constructivist, “retro” design of the 1960s. In the 1960s, the constructivist, typographic poster design also appeared in his work. He worked occasionally together with Gábor Papp. In 1975, he transformed the logo of the BNV (Budapest International Fair).  He altered it to an impossible cube, and then combined it with a ball and the Hungarian national tricolor, red white and green. In the following years, he created variations of this logo, depending on the season.

From the 1970s, Szilvásy has also created several surrealistic, drawn posters. A special design was the one for the 1975 poster exhibition (a surreal combination of a screaming face, a foot and the letters P and L) that won an international price. This kind of grotesque drawing appears on some movie posters of him as well.                                                                                                         .