(Békéscsaba, 1880 – Budapest, 1955)
“Perlrott’s overflowing pictorial sensuality was shaped by Henri Matisse and French painting, which cast a spell on his artistic gestures, as it were. This resulted in an extremely exciting, exuberant and at the same time restrained style of painting, coupled with the curiosity of an inquisitive mind. (…) He saw painting as a linguistic medium that, based on strict rules, accommodates individual invention, as well as intellectual and emotional wealth. His complex oeuvre, which includes masterpieces in all genres and in their synthesis as well, is a result of this wide-ranging interest” (Judit Boros).
A contradictory personality with contradictory autobiographies, an unbridled talent and an obsessed experimenter who, freshly out of Matisse’s school, became very European, and a pioneer of the new art movements. He travelled between Paris, Baia Mare and Kecskemét so much at ease as few Transylvanian artists did in the interwar period. The extremely talented Jewish boy from Békéscsaba eschewed painting academies, flirted with Fauvism, expressionism, the avant-garde and cubism, but the synthesizing power of his striking personality permeated each of his attempts. He was introduced to the school of painting from Baia Mare by József Koszta. Here, thanks to Károly Ferenczy, his life took another dramatic turn. A scholarship won in 1906 provided him with an opportunity to study in Paris, which would become an inspiring medium and an integral part of his creative career. He got acquainted with Matisse, Braque and Derain, and discovered and interiorized new styles. From this time on he spent his summers in Baia Mare and the winters in the French capital, until 1909, when due to generational differences that shook the Nagybánya artists’ colony, he relocated to Kecskemét, at the invitation of Béla Iványi Grünwald. Having surpassed his teachers, Géza Bornemisza, Tibor Boromisza, and Lajos Tihanyi, the ‘Neos’ raised in Paris, became his spiritual family. He had exhibitions in the French capital as early as 1907. His rebellious imagination was welcomed from the start. “The new group of Hungarian painters has a member who is deeply dislikes for his painting – Elysium Garden- and his own self. The exciting reds, tense greens and bursting yellows attract attention, though artistic freedom – to put it prosaically -does not even allow us to get hung up on such issues. The painting is a pagan, healthy chapter of human life, offering fresh general human feelings, mobilizing such a monumental mass of our sensations that only truly antique marble sculptures can do” (György Bölöni).
In the company of his wife, the painter Margit Gráber, he created, exhibited and pulsated passionately at the forefront of the European artist community throughout the fertile first decades of the 20th century. His painter friend, Géza Bornemisza, reminisced: “he loved passionately: to search, to find out, to do, to try, to understand, to examine, he competed with this, he wanted to overtake that, while he was virtually staggering in the heat of work”. In addition to the overheated Parisian creative atmosphere, in the company of Matisse, Perlrott embraced Spanish mannerisms and especially El Greco’s unique style, as early as the 1910s. This drove his curious nature towards German expressionism: Vienna, Berlin, Dresden… millions of impulses and opportunities to showcase his work.
Perlrott’s second Baia Mare era began in the 1920s. According to art historians, the globetrotter painter brought a breath of fresh air to the colony that already existed in a kind of isolation. He regularly exhibited at home, not only in Budapest, where he settled again in 1924, but also in the most important cities of Transylvania, including Oradea. Silence reigns over the period of suffering during World War II. Late in his life the great master of synthesis retreated to Szentendre, and from there to eternity on January 23, 1955.