Étienne Hajdú (1907-1996)

Etienne Hajdú was born in 1907 in Turda, Cluj County, Romania from a family of Hungarian origins. For a while he went to Art School in Vienna, Austria but soon decided to go to Paris. Hajdú died in 1996 in Bagneux, Hauts-de-Seine aged 88.

Available Etienne Hajdú works:

Étienne  Hajdú sculptor

Étienne  Hajdú


Study in Paris

Hajdú attended the Ecole des Arts Decoratifs for three years in the studio of the Art-Deco sculptor Paul Niclausse (1879-1958). Later he studied with Bourdelle at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere. This lasted but only for a short time and soon he decided to work on his own.

He became a French citizen in 1930. From 1935 to 1937, Hajdú traveled through France by bicycle to discover Romanesque and Gothic churches. In 1939 he started to show his work at the Jeanne Bucher Jaeger gallery and joined a group exhibition with his friends the Portuguese abstract painter Maria Helena Vieira da Silva (1908-1992) and the Hungarian-Jewish abstract painter Árpád Szenès (1897-1985). After he was demobilised In 1940 he spent the rest of the occupation in the Pyrenees earning his living as a marble-mason and he participates in the French Resistance against the Nazi occupation.


Exhibitions worldwide

Exhibitions were devoted to Hajdú in major international museums, such as the MOMA in New York (1955), the National Museum of Modern Art in Paris (1973 and 1979), the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon (1974) and in many French museums. The sculptures of Étienne Hajdú are represented in many museums around the world like the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the MOMA and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Phillips Collection in Washington, the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts in Hungary and the Folkwang Museum in Essen in Germany.

In 1965 he was awarded the Grand Prix National de Sculpture.


Reappraisal of his sculptures

Although he used various materials like marble, lead, copper, aluminum, and bronze he is known for the phrase 'Art begins where the material ends'. In his work one can see the admiration for the sculpture of Constantin Brancusi and Hans Arp. At the end of the 20th century Etienne Hajdú faded somewhat into the background, but in his time he was an artist who made an original contribution to modern sculpture. Today one sees a reappraisal of his work and other contemporaries such as Alicia Penalba and Harold Cousins.