Szüle Péter

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Szüle Peter

Cegléd, 1886 - 1944, Budapest

The Life

Peter Szüle worked hard for the life he always wanted, although his family never agreed with his career choice. He pushed through prejudices and managed to have a successful career as a painter. A career that kept him busy showcasing exhibitions until the day he died at 58 years old.

The Art

At the beginning of his career, Peter predominantly painted genre scenes that captured aspects of everyday life. After a while, the meticulousness of the naturalistic painting in his landscapes was replaced by spots of color, fragmented touches, and vivid effects, characteristic of Impressionism. His most successful work was portraits.

One who never gave up

Peter Szüle was a Hungarian artist, born in Cegléd in 1886.

He grew up in a simple family, whose ideal of a successful future involved having a successful career. They wanted exactly that for Peter, a career that would offer him stability. But the artist's passion for art manifested since childhood made it impossible for him to follow dreams which were not his own. He finished elementary school in the town where he was born and continued his studies in Ujpest, where he later moved with his family.

In 1903 he began his artistic studies at the School of Applied Arts and two years later he continued at the Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest, where Károly FERENCZY, Ede BALLÓ, and Tivadar ZEMPLÉNYI were his teachers. At the end of his schooling, he launched himself on the art scene with his 1912 painting, depicting a cloudy landscape on the Hungarian Plains, where he tried to recreate the atmosphere of the space, as Barbizon painters did in their Plein air paintings.

Between 1913 and 1914 he attended the Masterschool of Gyula BENCZÚR, followed by a two-week study tour in Germany, France, and Italy, where he was strongly impressed by the works of great German realist painter Wilhelm Leibl. His art was also influenced by the Plein air painting, but his best-known paintings rather show the style marks of the MUNKÁCSY tradition.

His other passion, Maria

Under political circumstances of the time, Peter had to serve in the army on the front of World War I from 1915 to 1918. A year later, he returned to his normal life and married Mária Örményi, the woman we would later see in almost all his paintings. She became his muse and model. Szüle depicted her in various settings and situations like sewing, reading, writing, or preparing herself for a night out at the theatre.

The model from the painting we hold in our collection represents a woman reading (1912). One can only believe that she was probably the artist's wife. The figure, sitting in a dark interior, is accentuated by the light that enters through the window. Her blue dress is painted with a wide brushstroke, which has us believe that the artist mastered the props of impressionism.

His paintings are not based on theories but feelings and this makes him stand out in this category.  Peter Szüle was an outstanding artist. One who stood out at the Artist Colony in Szolnok when he worked there between 1923 and 1928. He organized a personal exhibition in Budapest and Mücsarnok and won several prizes. Some of his paintings are still on the property of the Hungarian National Gallery.

He died after a stroke, on February 12, 1944, just a few weeks before German troops entered Hungary.


Woman reading, 1921

oil, canvas, 29 x 26 cm

Woman reading, 1921

Landscape with clouds, 1912

oil, cardboard, 41.5 x 31 cm

Landscape with clouds, 1912