The book is introduced by:
A. GERGELY András PhD (cultural antropologist / ELTE TáTK)
This volume covers the approximately half a century of history of Free Art School (Central Art School, Artist’s Circle) which was initially established by the Union of Railway Workers and Sailors in March 1947. Later, the school was run by the Union of Railway Workers and from the early 2000s, it gradually vanished. The activities of the school (circle) in the 1950s and in the decades from the revolution of 1956 to its termination after the demise of socialism is discussed in the light of the still available documents (photographs, catalogues, personal files, letter correspondences, narrative interviews made by Oral History methods).
The book is not only the piece of retrospection and some kind of reckoning, but, it is also a tribute to the “Kirs school,” to the “Railway Worker” as the students called the school. The school (circle) in itself was many ambitious young people’s professional “cradle,” their starting point and the track to their goals. The intention of the author is to show the vibrant environment enabled by the pedagogical pursuit of the former teachers which was flourished during the time of the directorship of sculptor Károly KIRCHMAYER and to introduce those community happenings that led to individual accomplishments.
The volume draws attention to the liberty in „informal” and „semi-formal” educational forms. It also emphasises the importance of those “self-studying” and “self-developing” motivations that prepared and motivated students to “formal” studies (Collage of Fine Arts, Collage of Craft Arts, and other universities). The book shows the credo of the profession, by the Masters who – attached to pedagogical sensitivity and humanity – supported the individual ambitions to get on track, and of dreams coming true. The result of the work of these masters is the vast number of former “railway workers” who enriched the Hungarian art scene, a number of whom were awarded the Munkácsy, the Kossuth, and the Merited Artist prizes and they contributed to the development of the scientific and cultural life of the county.
In the appendix of the book, the talking partners; Timea TIBORI, the widow of Károly KIRCHMAYER; Mrs. Edit, and Gábor PÁL, recollect the life of the school (circle). Tamás T. KISS conducted an interview with Painter Győző SOMOGYI, recipient of Munkácsy and Kossuth awards, who enlightened about the opportunities provided by the artistic freedom of the school (circle). He also interviewed two similarly distinguished artists: graphic artist Károly SCHMALL and painter Éva KRAJCSOVICS. Both of them recalled the beginning of their careers and discussed their artistic creeds.
The students define the community life, giving insights about their joint work with their masters according to their written experiences. The appendix contains the list of the students (from 1947 to the closure of the school), the bibliography of articles published about the school (circle), photographs made at exhibitions and artist’s colonies, and the copies of other original documents. The attached DVD contains two documentaries. One of them is a portrait film about sculptor Károly KIRCHMAYER and the other was made at the opening of his exhibition. The book is closed by an English language abstract.