Commemoration of the 61st anniversary of the death of Lajos Kunffy

March 10, 2023
Commemoration of the 61st anniversary of the death of Lajos Kunffy

Lajos Kunffy died on 12 March 1962, in the 93rd year of his life.

A happy, balanced childhood and youth, a consciously structured young adulthood, an eventful, rich life. The quiet income of the Somogytur estate marked the limits of his financial possibilities, and it can be said that he managed it well. His life was not ostentatious, but comfortable, and his wife was stable by his side. His son, Zoltán, achieved good success in his own business, obtaining a degree in agricultural science and later becoming head of a ministry department.  

The low point in Kunffy's life was undoubtedly his deportation to the Tab ghetto in April 1944. He was rescued by the intervention of Horthy, thanks to the intervention of his friends, and spent the period of emergency in the cellar of the Gellért Hotel, in a kind of "protective custody". By then he was 75, suffering from chronic gall bladder inflammation, which he kept in balance with natural remedies.

The confiscation of their property in 1946 left the couple, who had no financial reserves, in deep poverty. With the discreet support of villagers and some friends, they survived for three years, and then, through the intervention of Aurél Bernáth, the state began to pay them a pension. Consolidation followed, in respectable poverty, for about eight years. The Somogy County authorities integrated him into the county's cultural life, regularly inviting him to give commemorative events and even giving him opportunities to exhibit his work. Mentally, he benefited from the wider acceptance he received from national art organizations, and his exhibitions in Kaposvár and later in Budapest were popular events. He was a contented citizen when the Somogytur manor house was declared a memorial museum and purchased by the state.

Zoltán's son stood firmly behind him and, with Aurél Bernáth, successfully represented the interests of the elderly artist. Kunffy himself and his wife, Mrs. Ella, enjoyed guiding visitors in the last years of their lives, and the mediation sessions with them always enlivened them.

I myself have met two people in the past year who visited here as young people and met the Kunffy couple. They both told me the same thing: a kind, peaceful old couple, talking with great affection about their lives, their years in Paris, and the history of the Hungarian art world (especially between the two world wars, when their estate was a favorite destination for painters who spent their summers on Lake Balaton). Iványi Grünwald and Rippl Rónai were frequent guests, and both returned to the Kunffys until their deaths. The large circle of friends was completed by members of the Somogy nobility, among whom the couple was popular.

Lajos Kunffy and Ella lived a respectable life. As we learn more and more about their everyday lives, this couple's harmonious and beautiful life unfolds, based on their fine intelligence, extraordinary education, and tolerant, empathetic view of the world around them.

The pure morality of their writing is a great pleasure for the reader.

We remember him with love and appreciation!

Dr. Péter Pál Varga

Museum Director


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