The idea & design of this website, as well as its content are the result of the hard work of Péter Nemes. It has expanded continuously since 2009, from Nemes’ own resources. He’s been concluding this research out of passion to present a world that is still at arm’s length but is quickly slipping away. Compiled piece by piece, this website is an imprint of the life of an exceptional artist living in a strange century.
Let me start by sharing the story of why I decided to create a website about the works and documents of Amerigo Tot. In 2007, some college friends of mine – who live in a city close to the artist’s birthplace in Hungary, and who cherish culture by organizing exhibitions – asked me if I wanted to edit a catalogue for the Amerigo Tot exhibition Folders From Rome staged in the Lamberg Castle, Mór, Hungary. I remembered Amerigo’s name from my college years, and the call sparked my interest. When a few days later we had a chat, I learned that the drawings about to be displayed were found in the neighboring town of Fehérvárcsurgó, in the laundry room of the Károlyi Castle where hundreds of additional drawings were hiding in the folders. It made me wonder who this artist really was – with his full graphic legacy gathering dust in a cellar in his birth town. After collecting all the books available on the topic in Hungary, it soon became obvious that the intellectual and physical legacy of this sculptor, once in the limelight but unjustly forgotten after passing away, was now crying out for help.
Meanwhile, the catalogue was completed and the show opened. At the event, I was introduced to Judit Cziráki, one of the artist’s heirs and in view of the upcoming centennial of Tot’s birth I suggested that the dust should be blown off the sculptures and they should be presented to a wide audience. Immediately, I started systematically arranging all the drawings, sculptures, archive footage, and newspaper articles that had been stored in boxes for decades. With each passing day it was becoming more and more evident that this unbelievably rich oeuvre was worthy of attention, and that this was likely the last opportunity to explore its depths. And this was how, a few months later, I found myself fully immersed in researching the life and work of Amerigo Tot.
Based on all the data I had processed I realized: the biography of the artist was far richer than the flashes of his life that had been known earlier, to which many colors were added with the interviews I conducted with his contemporaries. I also visited quite a number of locations in Italy where Amerigo Tot left his mark in his time. I discovered some of his sculptures in a permanent storage in the basement of the Hungarian Academy in Rome, as well as the original gypsum forms used for casting his bronze pieces, all on the brink of destruction. I photographed his statues in public spaces from all angles, most of them crumbling due to the ravages of time. I even talked to the sculptor’s lawyer. My bookshelves got filled with the documents I gathered, and the insight I gained into the artist’s life was becoming deeper and deeper. I received lots of letters, I managed to acquire invaluable photos from bequests, and a whole world, rich in detail, created by a tireless artist, began to show under the surface.
In my research, I placed special emphasis on collecting all relevant contemporary newspaper articles as well as radio interviews. A few years ago I had the idea that these could be arranged in chronological order so that all the interviews ever given by Amerigo Tot should fall into place as a kind of composite biography spanning the entire twentieth century. This is how my book ’Amerigo — A sculptor, who conquered Rome’ emerged.
ResearcherCurator of Amerigo Tot Foundation
What I do
On this site, I look after the largest collection of Tot’s work in the world. I have no information of anything like this that someone would have processed alone using his own resources. The base of the collection is provided by the works and documents of the legacy preserved by the sculptor’s heirs and the collections of the art collectors I have connected with. In addition, I am constantly receiving photos, newspaper articles and letters offered by former friends and acquaintances. After digitization and retouching I upload these elements to a database and manage the content of social media sites too.
In addition to collecting, digitizing and publishing all data, I am determined to restore, conserve and rescue Amerigo Tot’s public sculptures. Information boards help me draw public attention to the creator of the given sculpture and understand more the history of the sculpture. Depending on my resources, I also organize exhibitions of works of art from time to time, for which I make catalogs with art analyzes.
From 2021, I record the research results of the given year in Yearbooks. You can read more about unearthed works of art, photographs, interviews, exhibitions, publications, art analyzes here.
Download Review 2021 PDF