Back in his native Hungary after 35 years

(ERZSÉBET SEBES, Daily News, anno II, Nr. 88, Budapest, 14 April, 1968)


A man who looks as if he had been carved out of granite by a fellow-sculptor—this is Amerigo Tot, with a face fit for a sculptor's chisel, marked features, suntanned skin, broad shoulders, large and powerful hands. An interesting man, kind and cheerful by nature, open to outward impressions and genuinely interested in them. At the age of 20, this man—born into a peasant family at Csurgó, West Hungary—set out for the wide world on his bare feet. In the early nineteen-thirties, he lived successively at Berlin, Paris and on the shores of the North Sea. He arrived in Italy in 1933—on foot. This was then the man who later "conquered" the art world of Rome—and who now returned to his native country for a visit, 35 years after he had set out on his peregrinations "Well, son, you have returned home after quite a few zigzags", were the words of greeting from his uncle at Csurgó. The sculptor says: "Now I really feel how circuitous my travels have been. I've been all over the world. Years have passed by. And now, as if someone had blown off me the dust of time. Four decades seem to have petered out. Up to now, I have not really felt homesick, as I have lived a greater portion of my life abroad. "Subconsciously, I was perhaps trying to preserve my spiritual balance by not coming—I was guarding against something which 'arrived' quite naturally during the last week here. My eyes are now full of tears. Look at these pictures—I made them at Csurgó. I am crying —and so are my uncle and other relatives. We have all grown old—and how closely we resemble one another! "Up to now, I have felt that the longer time spent abroad means more to me. Now, all at once, life has changed the arithmetical approach. I have lived here for a short time— and yet this is where I have lived. I walk about the streets and know exactly what I shall see next, where I am and which turning to take. How do I know? Because in my heart of hearts I have been here often. Now I know I must return often, now I know I need to return often." Exhibition planned "I am discussing plans for arranging an exhibition of my works at Budapest and Szekesfehervar—I do not know which would come first. It seems the exhibition will be held towards the end of this year—and then I shall return for a stay of two to three months. "I would like to present my life's work, like a "parabola", beginning from the old representational works, through the abstract works —from about 1950—up to recent creations. I want to bring along statues, graphic works, drawings, and photographs of those works which cannot be brought to Hungary. "I have much to see to until then, I want to recast some statues to their original forms. I also want to show here some of the statues I have exhibited at my show in Venice. I am conducting talks about an exhibition in America— however, I would like to postpone that until after the exhibition in Hungary." Some 500 of his works are preserved in various parts of the world, mostly in private collections. Walking over the rooms of Budapest's Arts Gallery with Amerigo Tot, seeing the exhibits of the 11th Hungarian Arts Exhibition, has been a special experience. He stopped before the statues and paintings, inquired about the artists and their earlier works, and spoke about some personal experiences connected with them. "Some of the works I have seen here have indeed taken my fancy. The fresco by Gyula Hincz is a work of European stature, for instance. "Buglers" by Tamás Vigh is a very good statue. Young Béla Tóth is congenially talented. I have also seen several Henry Moore imitations—but there is only one Moore and he cannot be imitated", the Master said in conclusion.