The painter Pál Molnár-C. (1894-1981)

PÁL MOLNÁR-C. was born on April 28, 1894, in Battonya.


His mother, Jeanne Contat came to Hungary from the French part of Switzerland to work as a nursery governess. She married József Molnár, who was a steward at the “László” estate, and remained in Hungary for good.


The first of their seven children, Pál, went to school in Arad by favor of the landlord. The technically interested little boy was driven towards an artistic career due to a national drawing competition, which he had won.


He was admitted to the Hungarian Royal Drawing School in Budapest. He earned his living by working as a tutor. From 1919 to 1921 he lived in Switzerland, and arranged the first three exhibitions of his life in Geneva and Lausanne.


He had his lifelong dream come true, when he had the opportunity to travel from Switzerland to Paris, where he was commissioned by a Swiss woman to copy a Titian painting located in the Louvre in return for financing his stay in Paris. He looked upon the copying of the artworks of major and minor masters in the Louvre as his real school.


Returning from Paris to Budapest he engaged in holding exhibitions, at first in the Belvedere Salon. He received his artist name at that time, the letter “C” from his mother’s name made the name Pál Molnár sound more interesting.


This cipher (MCP) became known as the limner of the “EST” (Evening) newspapers, which covered three daily newspapers. He kept sending his dynamic tint-drawings about the everyday life of Pest day-to-day for years, even from abroad.


He spent the years from 1928 to 1931 in Rome as a scholarship holder. Besides Aba-Novák, Pátzay and Szőnyi, he was the first inmate of the Hungarian Academy in Rome. The young students had several happy creative years here, and imbibed the atmosphere of Italian art for a lifetime.

MCP started to paint in surrealist style at that time, and this was the only style, which accompanied his whole life, and was really close to his heart: “As a matter of fact all art is more or less surreal. The reality of everyday life differs from the reality of art, which stands above reality.”


After the years spent in Rome he regularly received large-scale orders from the church. His wonderful triptychs can be seen in numerous churches throughout the country from Kőszeg via Budapest to Battonya. He depicted the saints in an unwontedly venturous and direct style, whereby he brought them closer to us humans.


He turned to the creation of the works of art about God as a means of escaping from the horrors of the external world. He withdrew to his studio, lived in solitude, experimented, worked and received the admirers, who paid a visit to him.


He kept playing throughout his life; he often changed styles and topics, painted easily and a great deal, furthermore he left behind a uniquely diverse and rich oeuvre.


He passed away on July 11, 1981. He had put down the paintbrush just a few weeks earlier, at the age of 87.


His oeuvre is on show in the family-owned museum, which is installed in the quondam studio.


His credo as a painter was as follows: “I’ve been a happy person, because I had the opportunity all my life to do what I loved most: I played throughout my life.” At other times he put it like this: “Beauty is the inexhaustible source of happiness for those, who discover its whereabouts. It hides everywhere.”