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Talking with Angels

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Talking with Angels
Hanna Dallos
Joseph Kreutzer
Gitta Mallasz
  Gitta Mallasz' artworks
  Gitta Mallasz righteous
Lili Strausz
the witnesses


  Gitta Mallasz’ artworks

Portrait of Hanna Dallos

This portrait of Hanna Dallos is probably the first work we know of by Gitta Mallasz. It is not signed, and the handwritten inscription that may have been added later (“To the unforgettable memory of Hanna...”) does not give any information about its author. However, Hanna’s sister-in-law who inherited this artwork assures us that it is by Gitta. Hanna and Gitta would have been around 20 by then. It would therefore date from the time when Hanna finished her studies, got married and founded a graphic and decorative arts workshop with her husband Joseph Kreutzer and her friend Gitta.

Hanna Dallos by Gitta Mallasz
Gitta Mallasz - Portrait of Hanna Dallos (courtesy of Dr. Vera Dallos-Pinter)

Production in the Mallasz-Dallos Workshop before and during the war

The workshop was established in 1928 by Hanna Dallos and her husband in Buda, on Ilonka Szabo Street (today Ilona Street), under the Fishermen’s Bastion. They worked in advertising and promoted tourism in Hungary, they produced greeting cards and posters, illustrated books, designed fabrics... It was around 1934 that Gitta Mallasz joined her friends. Thanks to the cover she provided, the workshop was able to continue its activity until 1942.

Most of what came out of the workshop bore the signature “MallaszDallos” or more rarely “DallosMallasz”. Few works are signed “Dallos” or “Mallasz”. It is therefore difficult to know by whom these works were made. One can only rely on comparisons with works that can be attributed with certainty to one or the other. But it cannot be ruled out that the two friends collaborated on some of them either.

Greeting Cards

The first 9 cards of the album were printed and distributed by Istvan Kanitz (1895-1953), a printer in Budapest, who frequented Hanna and Joseph’s workshop with Peter and Vera Székely. Only three of them were signed Mallasz Dallos, but it is very likely that the other six also came from the workshop. 

These cards, under copyright “Kanitz C. ésfia” (Kanitz and son), Budapest, were kindly provided by Kathleen Kelley-Lainé and Peter Kelley, daughter and son of Istvan Kanitz. They may not be reproduced without their permission.

You can see other posters designed by Hanna Dallos and Gitta Mallasz in the 1930s in an article published in 2013 in Artmagazin: Szépvagy, gyönyörű vagy Magyarország (‘Hungary, you are beautiful, you are splendid!’ - title of a very popular song from the 1920s).

Production in the Gitta Mallasz’ workshop after the war

After the war, Gitta Mallasz took over the ruined workshop of her friend Adrienne Frankovszky (Adri) at 4 Batthyányi Street. It became her apartment and workshop. Initially, Gitta, Adri, Agi (Agnčs Péter) and Ruszi (Erzsébet Rusznyak) who were two women she knew from Katalin, met to read the Teaching. When more work became available, the place resumed its function as a workshop. And later on, the small group gradually broke up. Adri was the first to leave; seriously ill, she died in 1953. Then Ruszi left in 1957 to work from home. In 1960, when Gitta left for France, only Agi remained; she kept the workshop until 1984.

The workshop’s production was very diversified. In addition to advertising and tourism promotion for Hungary, the documentation that remains from that time contains a lot of teaching material: a booklet for communist youths, teaching notes for games and notably a series of song books for primary schools based on the Kodaly method. Gitta and Ruszi illustrated the books and Agi did the graphic design for the musical scores.

Album Mallasz apres-guerre
To view the slideshows, click here

Studio N°6’s triptych

Over the same period, they designed a triptych for the Hungarian Radio. It was then made over a period of 6 months by the craftsman carpenter Béla Mészaros with 30 different types of wood. It was installed in Studio N°6 circa 1948. This triptych has now disappeared. It bore an inscription with a quotation from the poem A nagyranőtt Krisztusok (The Majestic Christs) by Endre Ady:

Zengjen a dalod, szent Forrongás
S te nagy Egy- Világ, zengjen a himnuszod.
(O Holy Ebullience, let your song resound,
And you, Unique and Vast World, may your hymn resonate)

The triptych symbolized the radio waves broadcasting to the four corners of the world, between allegories of dynamics and harmony.
(According to Thomas Sávoly, an archivist at Hungarian Radio)

Work for the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble

Between the end of the war and her departure for France, Gitta Mallasz was also a costume designer for Rábai Miklós’ Állami Népi Együttes (Hungarian State Folk Ensemble). She accompanied the troupe on its international tours and served as their interpreter.

Ballet hongrois Paris 1957

Hungarian Rhapsody, a book published in 1956 and translated into several languages, is a remarkable illustration of both the richness of Hungarian folklore and the talent of Gitta. One of her 32 drawings is reproduced here.

Ensemble populaire de l'état hongrois
La danse du ruban (Costume de la région de Kapuvar)

Gitta Mallasz’ artistic activity in France

In France, Gitta resumed her activity as a graphic designer to earn a living. She illustrated record covers for Vox and painted furniture in the traditional Hungarian style. She also produced more personal artworks.

Vierge ŕ l'enfant Paradis
Virgin and Child Paradise (Françoise Maupin’s private collection)

Children’s books

Gitta illustrated several children’s books both in Hungary after the war and in France.

Krampusz Könyv
Krampusz könyv (The book of Krampusz), by Endrődy Béla, illustrated by Gitta Mallaz, 1944

A piros csillag meséje, Conte de l’étoile rouge
A piros csillag meséje (Tale of the Red Star), by Urban Ernö, illustrated by Gitta Mallasz, 1945

Kikelet (Spring renewal), by Urban Ernö, illustrated by Gitta Mallasz, 1946

Lala le petit Koala (Lala the Little Koala Bear), by Marcelle Vérité, illustrated by Gitta Walder, Casterman, 1970
Gitta Mallasz - Le fauteuil magique
Le fauteuil magique (The Magic Armchair), by Dominique Rollin, illustrated by Gitta Walder, Casterman, 1971

As these books are copyrighted, we cannot reproduce them here. Anyone interested can request private access to the illustrations in the Hungarian books (Contact).

Other works

  Gitta Mallasz
               Untitled (year unknown)
            (Marguerite Kardos’ private collection)

Translated by Treharne Translations