Andor Meszaros ( Mészáros)
|Last name||Meszaros ( Mészáros)|
|Country of Origin||Hungary|
|Date of Birth||1 Sept. 1900|
|Year of Arrival in Australia||1939|
|Submitted by||Attila Urmenyhazi|
Andor Meszaros (1900-1972), trained architect, sculptor, artist-medallist was born in Budapest into a middle class family, the son of Alexander Mészáros, solicitor, and his wife Bertha, nee Grunsberg, a well known sculptress. Andor was a rare talent who drew outstandingly well since childhood and, as teenager, dabbled with clay for sculpted objects. Following his completion of secondary school studies Andor served in the Hungarian cavalry in 1918, but World War I ended before he saw action.
The Mészáros family moved to Vienna in 1919, where Andor studied building engineering at the Technische Hochschule. However in 1923 he spent one full year’s break from university to live in Paris to test his own gift and determine his direction in life. He attended sculpture course at Académie Julian and at night learned carving techniques in sculpture at the studio of compatriot József Csáky who was among the forerunners of cubism in sculpture. Andor had the good fortune to meet and discuss modern art with greats like Picasso and Braque, Cézanne and Modigliani. Their concepts influenced him on abstract and cubist forms.
In 1927 he completed his architecture studies at the Budapesti Műszaki Egyetem (Technical University of Budapest). He worked as architect and married Erzsébet ( Elisabeth) Back in 1932 . His heart however was in monumental sculpture, including the miniaturized-form of it: designing medal and medallions then sculpting medal faces (obverse and reverse sides in numismatics). Anticipating a disastrous war in Europe he emigrated to Australia, reaching Melbourne on 21 June 1939. In the following year his wife and son Daniel joined him.
Migrant Andor was classed as an enemy alien for a period, but nevertheless he made contact with the art world through influential academics at the University of Melbourne and also through the religious and medical communities, whilst working at the architectural firm Ward, Marsh & Michaelson in Melbourne. He made fine medallic portraits as a way into local art circles. Within two years he had already completed 41 medallions, then an undeveloped field of art in Australia. Parallel to the pursuit of that art form he began to make a living by securing sculpture commissions: His early works included a series of three carved stone figures for Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney: “Motherhood”(1944), ‘The Surgeon’ (1945) and ‘King George V’ (1946).
In 1949 he went to England where and undertook to sculpt the altarpiece for St Anselm’s Chapel in Canterbury Cathedral and to complete ‘The Canterbury Series’, fourteen medallions depicting the Stations of the Cross. His commissions of creativity were lauded further enhancing his reputation as a fine and versatile sculptor.
He returned to Australia in the same year. Among his larger commissioned works were ‘The Resurrection’, a sandstone carving forming the decorated screen in the chapel of Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore) (1954), the hanging rood in the transept of the Cathedral Church of St Peter, Adelaide (1955), and ‘Christ Accepts His Cross’, a bronze figure in All Saints Church, Brisbane (1962). Meszaros’s bas-reliefs in stone and bronze adorn many monumental buildings like the Shrine of Remembrance, Brisbane, the Supreme Court, Darwin, and Sydney’s international air-terminal with his memorial to pioneer aviator Charles Ulm.
Please see Part Two