Bér Rudolf

ber_rudolf-1-274x182Even I was at the university, when my brother-in-law opened a coffee-shop. To decorate the wall, he put a painting of me there. You could not decide whether man or woman was depicted on it, it was funny even in a „classic portrait” category. Then, ambling homeward one night, the waiter caught me: come in, somebody is interested in your picture. I was so surprised that a Dutch professor wanted to buy this large painting, and I asked him with confusion: if he displayed the picture at home, please send me a photo. Receiving the photo, I grasped for breath: I was displayed beside an original Vermeer…

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Lajos Ernst had a reputation for being great patron of arts. He made the Art Nouveau style house built at the Nagymező street, that at the ground floor he run a contemporary art gallery (museum now), and he arranged two ateliers at the top floor. We moved there in 1984, for my father was a painter as well. On this studio podium Horthy sat for a portrait, as well as Rákosi later. Now it is a playground for my little son, Arisztid (God knows, what he will be once…)

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Our family has had a general attraction of fine arts, somebody as „perpetrator”, others as collectors. Minna Herzog, my great-grandmother represented the chiaroscuro style, the academic „studio” painting. I stand for the fourth generation of the painting. To open relentlessly a space on the plane, to play and to direct theatre with a paintbrush — it is an eternal love.

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We painted many times side-by-side with my father. His death was difficult to accept. He left a huge vacancy after him. His friends, Tibor Csernus and Kornél Szentgyörgyi corrected my paintings even later. The hours, when talking on compositions, themes, technics, lightings in the studios of Szentgyörgyi at the Forint Street, Budapest and of Csernus in Montmarte, earlier owned by Picasso served as lectures for a life. Their ateliers meant landmarks to me until their deaths.

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The windows of my studio let through not only light but music as well. I always work on music, whether I want it or not. Either summer or winter I enjoy the leaking sounds from the Conservatorium (High School of Music). Of course, I let the music effect into my art. If I carve, however, something else, I go back side to paint there. On the south side I am attracted by the variety of cold and warm colours, and the inexhaustible play of the fast-changing lights and shadows. I hate the static stage.

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When I was ten, I play tennis in competitive mood. Although trainings were every day, Saturdays I drew nudes at the Postman Club, instead. When this was discovered, my coach became furious. I got two weeks to decide. Of course, it is important to me the sport, I am inspired by the throbbing, the variety, and the speed. The water sport is like the painting. You must overcome the elements alone. You are grabbing the ropes with benumbed hands, praying to survive. Then disembarking, you look back to the stormy waters, and start to look for an other sail: a canvas. A lot of canvas was inspired by the high waters…

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I am a curious person. I visited a lot of places to discover new models, colours, picture breaks, landscapes, alien words. During my study tours even I found the Venus at Syracusa. Outside heat of 40 centigrade, inside chilly 20. Shivering, I grab my pen, drawing the soft and round lines. Around me the black-suited ushers. They pointed that I might get closer, and cleared the cordon. And, winking, they called me closer. Just waking up, they were embracing the cool marble profiles. A great picture! I love Fellini…

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A woman’s body was created for admiration. Still I am impressed. But it is the symbol of the consumer society. In the madness of consuming we even do not realise what is around us: fashion shows in the church, or electing the „best female bottom” at Titian’s land. I could not believe my eyes, when at a misty highway near Venice a prize-winning body part appeared on a lorry. Slightly modified, I made a picture from it. Of course, this is just a good excuse for a painting.


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