Academic journal article The Sculpture Journal

Obituary: Professor George Thomas Noszlopy (1932-2011)

Academic journal article The Sculpture Journal

Obituary: Professor George Thomas Noszlopy (1932-2011)

Article excerpt

George Noszlopy was born on 29 November 1932 in Budapest, where his father and grandfather ran a family business as master bakers. He was educated at first under the very right-wing regime of Admiral Horthy and later under the Stalinist rule of Mátyás Rákosi and of the rather milder Imre Nagy. He became very hostile to the dominant Stalinist orthodoxy and served in the Hungarian army with the writer and political activist, István Eörsi, a disciple of George Lukács. Lukács was briefly minister of culture during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and Eörsi was jailed for three-and-a-half years after its collapse. In that year Noszlopy completed his first degree in museology (art history and subsidiary subjects) at the Eötvös Lóránd University in Budapest and, together with many other Hungarians, escaped to the west after the failure of the Revolution. After a spell in Vienna and Paris, Noszlopy came to London in December 1956 to study the history of art at the Courtauld Institute. He joined the expatriate circle around the Hungarian Writers' Union in exile and contributed regularly to their journal.

Taking up a full-time lectureship at Coventry School of Art in 1963, Noszlopy established and developed the study of art history there, moving shortly afterwards to perform a similar function at Birmingham College of Art and Design (later part of Birmingham Polytechnic, later still becoming the University of Central England, and finally Birmingham City University) where he remained for the rest of his career. In the 1970s he developed a very successful postgraduate course in the History of Art and Design. This was then a very unusual initiative in art colleges, which later proved influential in many polytechnics and universities. His publications included The Primitive Art of Bryan Pearce in 1964, an essay on the Hungarian artist Tivadar Csontvary, and monographs on the painter György Gordon in 1989, and on Gordon's first wife the caricaturist Edma (Marta Edinger) in 1998.

Meanwhile between 1983 and 1985 he and Evelyn Silber, then Deputy Director of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, supervised a team of five research students and two photographers working on a street-by-street survey of public art in Birmingham. This project was sponsored by the Manpower Services Commission. Thanks to help from the Leverhulme Trust the resulting typescript was updated and transferred onto a computerized database for publication as a CD-ROM between 1993 and 1995. In Liverpool the Walker Art Gallery had undertaken a similar project in the 1970s, but generally university art history departments and the larger art galleries had been reluctant to engage in 'local studies' of this type. …

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