Transylvania – Through the Eyes of a Man of Kolozsvár – exhibition

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2018/03/23 - 2018/05/26


An exhibition compiled from the exquisite photographs of Dénes Szabó, a former photographer of Kolozsvár will be opened at 5 p.m. on Friday March 23, 2018. The exhibited items are kept in the collection of National Széchényi Library.

About the exhibition as the curator worded it: Fragile works…

A major part of the scattered oeuvre of Dénes Szabó, a photographer of Kolozsvár, has been kept in the collection of National Széchényi Library. The approximately 3,000 items, mainly 10x13 cm glass negatives, have been hiding in boxes.

Not much is known about Dénes Szabó’s life, not even by those who live in Kolozsvár (today’s Cluj-Napoca). His firm, Fotofilm was one of the most active postcard production ventures in Transylvania, based at a central location of Kolozsvár. In his advertisements, Dénes Szabó referred to his postcards as the ones with the “most beautiful design”. He regarded himself as the photographer of the National Theater of Kolozsvár, and he was most proud of this work in his entire oeuvre.

Photographs taken by Dénes Szabó appeared in books published by Erdélyi Szépmíves Céh (Transylvanian Guild of Fine Arts), and Fotofilm photos were regularly published in the journal Kolozsvári Nemzeti Színház (Kolozsvár National Theater), and in Pásztortűz (Shepherd's Fire), a journal edited by Sándor Reményik.

After Dénes Szabó’s death, the content of his studio was scattered, and many of his photographs were destroyed. Budapest-based University Library holds a collection of Szabó’s unprocessed photographs, the size of which is similar to that of the collection in National Széchényi Library. Some 3,000 photographs by Dénes Szabó are owned by private collectors.

This exhibition is meant as a first step towards making Dénes Szabó’s oeuvre widely known, and we hope that in the future owners of major collections will perform research work collectively.

The exhibited photographs represent all of the topics present in our photo collection, such as Transylvanian landscapes and towns, memorial sites, the work of peasants, city life and well-known folk costumes.

Curator of the exhibition: Katalin Csillag (Slide Strip and Photo Collection, NSZL)

The exhibition will be opened by László Haris, Príma Award-winning photographer.

On the day of the opening ceremony, you can visit the exhibition free of charge.

The exhibition will be open from March 23 until May 26, 2018, during the opening hours of NSZL.
Venue: Floor 5, National Relic exhibition space

Visitors who are not registered readers of the Library can attend all of our temporary chamber exhibitions for a flat fee of HUF 400.

Facebook event

The event in pictures

A short movie about the exhibition on our YouTube Channel