József Róbert Balázs (AKA Balázs József Róbert, Hungarian, 1930 – 2010) was a visual artist known for his work in watercolor, mixed media, mosaics, murals and printmaking. Balázs was born on July 31, 1930 in Budapest, Hungary and graduated from the College of Fine Arts (Képzomuvészeti Foiskolán, now called The Hungarian University of Fine Arts [A Magyar Képzomuvészeti Egyetem]) in 1953. He studied under Hungarian masters, Róbert Berény (1887-1953), Aurél Bernáth (1895-1982), Endre Domanovszky (1907-1974) and Gyula Hincz (Hungarian, 1904-1986). His name is most often listed in the traditional Hungarian order with surname first and given name second as, Balázs József Róbert.
Early in his career, Balázs drew inspiration from his travels throughout several European countries. He also taught for ten years at the Ferenczy István Circle of Fine Arts, was an external staff member of the Institute of Folk Culture, as well as a specialist rapporteur at the Metropolitan Council. He was a member of the István Csók Creative Community, the Studio of Young Artists and the Hungarian Society of Fine Arts. Over the course of his long career, Balázs exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibits throughout Hungary to include Budapest, Pécs, Nyíregyháza, Záhony, Kiskorös, Kecskemét, Komló, Debrecen and Szirák as well as cities abroad such as New York City and Buffalo, NY.
Circa 1964-1966, he traveled to New York where he had his first foreign solo show (1964) as well as a few group exhibitions (1964, and later in 1969), and also worked on his first mural commission; a 36-square-foot Venetian glass mosaic titled, “Sailboats” (1965), which is located in the swimming pool of a condominium in New York City. It was reported that his mural represented ‘free space’ with its waves, fish, starfish and sailboats which evoked more elements and scenes of Lake Balaton in his home country of Hungary, rather than the open sea. The studio portion of the mural work was constructed upside-down with paper glue, which was then installed on site by Italian masters under the supervision of Balázs. While in New York, the artist’s talents were noticed by the renowned Kennedy Galleries, who welcomed him among its distinguished members and his linocut titled, “Brooklyn Bridges” can be found in their collection. In 1966, Balázs returned home, but unfortunately was unable to take advantage of his newly-founded relationships due to the current political climate.
Throughout his career, Balázs created numerous large mural marble mosaics and also smaller mosaic-sized stone mosaics, in which he displayed lyrical and dramatic symbols in constructive form language with abstract reality. He also collaborated with his son, renowned mosaic artist, Miklós Erno Balázs (Hungarian, 1960-) in graphic arts printmaking and he also made furniture. His works can be found in numerous international public and private collections and museums such as the Hungarian National Gallery. Balázs passed away on June 10, 2010 at the age of 79 in Budapest, Hungary.
1930- July 31, born, Budapest, Hungary.
1953- Group exhibition, Budapest, Hungary.
1955- Group exhibition, Budapest, Hungary.
1956- Group exhibition, Pécs, Hungary.
1957- Group exhibition, Budapest, Hungary.
1959- Group exhibition, Budapest, Hungary.
1962- Group exhibition, Budapest, Hungary.
1963- Solo exhibition, Komló, Budapest, Hungary.
1964- Solo exhibition, New York City. Group exhibition, New York City.
1965- Worked on his first mural commission; a 36-square-foot Venetian glass mosaic titled, “Sailboats” (1965), which is located in the swimming pool of a condominium in New York City.
1966- Returned to Budapest, Hungary.
1967- Group exhibition, Budapest, Hungary.
1969-1970- December 21-January 4, exhibited, group show, “International Water Color Show”, with the painting “Trees on a Hillside”, Sisti Galleries, 469 Franklin Street, Buffalo, NY.
1984- Solo exhibitions in Hungarian cities, Nyíregyháza, Záhony, Kiskorös and Kecskemét.
1985- Solo exhibitions in Hungarian cities, Lenti, Budapest and Debrecen. Group exhibition, Budapest, Hungary. Group exhibition, Paris, France.
1988- Group exhibition, Budapest, Hungary.
1989- Solo exhibition, Badacsonytomaj, Hungary.
1990- Solo exhibition, Budapest, Hungary.
1993- Solo exhibition, Szirák, Hungary.
1994- Group exhibition, Budapest, Hungary.
2010- June 10, died, Budapest, Hungary.
Awards/Honors: Noémi Ferenczy Award, 2002.
Select Public Collections: “Sailboats”, Venetian glass mosaic, 1965, New York; Still life, marble mosaic, 1966, Kisterenye; “The semi-greedy of the rooster diamond”, marble mosaic, 1968, Fonyód-Bélatelep; Glass mosaic covering columns, 1969, Szentes; Marble mosaic decoration, 1969, Budapest; ‘The World of White Lake”, marble mosaic, 1970, Szeged; Florentine Guild Badge and Renaissance Decorations, 1971, Budapest; Budapest, marble mosaic, 1971, Budapest; “History of Aviation”, glass window series, 1972, Budapest; Motifs of Gyöngyös-Pásztó, 1972, Gyöngyös; Coat of arms, Mettlach mosaic, 1973, Kazincbarcika; “Music”, marble mosaic, 1984, Kecskemét; “Tree of Life”, marble mosaic, 1986, Záhony; “Cosmos”, marble-granite mosaic, 1987, Békéscsaba; “Stone curtain”, marble mosaic, 1988, Szombathely; “Corrugation”, building ceramic mosaic, 1989, Budapest; “Crystal Ball”, marble mosaic space sculpture, 1992, Budapest; Marble mosaic, 1996, Budapest; “Music”, marble mosaic, 1997, Dunaharaszti; “Soaring Freedom”, Granite Glass Mosaic, 1999; “Mandelbrot figure”, marble mosaic, 2000, Budapest; Floor mosaic, marble, 2000, Budapest; and “Chaos and Order”, mosaic, mixed matter, 2000, Budapest.
(Translated, rewritten in parts & compiled by Mark Strong of Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc., East Aurora, NY, 14052, meibohmfinearts.com, sources: kieselbach.hu, Kieselbach Gallery and Auction House, Budapest, Hungary, translated biographical information from, “Artists: Balázs, József Róbert Budapest, 1930-2010”; hu.wikipedia, Hungarian Wikipédia, translated biographical information, “Balázs József Róbert: Hungarian painter and mosaic artist, fine artist”; barcikaihistorias.hu, translated biographical information, “A szobrok városa alkotói: Balázs József Róbert: ”; kozterkep.hu, translated biographical information, “Balázs, József Róbert”; fultonhistory.com, online digitized newspaper article, Buffalo Courier-Express, “International Water Color Show”, Page 14, December 21, 1969, PDF Buffalo NY Courier Express 1969 c - 0395.pdf.)