• paintings • drawings • interior design
“For me the process of creating the painting - is transmitting a surge of emotions through an expressive combination of colors and textures. I immerse myself in the interpretation of instinctive symbolism, especially that goes beyond just aesthetic conditions.
I am always inspired by how a painting can evoke in one’s unconsciousness a certain sense of mystery, intimacy and reverence.”
“Contemporary abstract paintings by professional visual artist Andrew Manaylo are featuring the bundle of vital energy and force. The virtuoso spontaneity of these masterpieces is something, that is given to an artist from above.
I highly recommend investing in this museum worthy fine art.”
Nikita D. Lobanov-Rostovsky
Advisor to the auction house "Christie's" and to "Sotheby's"
Member of the Board of Directors' of "Association of Theatre Museum" in London
On Rothschild’s wall, between Dalí and Warhol
Andrew Manaylo began his career as the third member of a Rusyn painter dynasty in Uzhgorod. He studied from the greatest masters at the classical painters' academies of Lviv (Lemberg) and St. Petersburg, and then moved to Hungary with his family and found a hospitable new home country here. At the middle of his life, comparable to a roller coaster ride, having received state recognition and international success with paintings, with billionaire buyers and patrons behind his back, he courageously stepped away from the academic painting traditions which had been like shackles for him. Now he is blissfully swimming in avant-garde trends of form and content, and approaches a new, wider horizon with strong strokes.
Nearly 50 years ago I was born into a family with three generations of artists, almost onto a palette – the artist recalls smiling. – The smell of paint struck me sooner than that of breast milk, and I learned drawing more quickly than walking. I was always underfoot in my grandfather's or my father's studio. I grew up on the stories of our family friends. My grandfather, Fedor Manaylo was a central figure of Transcarpathian art life. In the forties he was a member of the famous circle of painters, the Carpathian Barbizon, then in 1945-46 he founded the Transcarpathian School of Fine Arts in Uzhgorod. He wandered in the mountains inhabited by hutsuls and Rusyns, gathered folk songs and created an open-air museum too. It is no coincidence that much later the Armenian-born Sergei Parajanov asked him to be the art director of his films. Together they created the unmistakable ‘couleur local’ atmosphere of the Forgotten Ancestors' Shadows telling the story of an unhappy love relationship. The masterpiece was a great success in 1964, and Federico Fellini was one of its fans.
Did your father, Iván manage to step up to your grandfather’s heritage?
Yes, literally! He became a painter too, and worked as an art teacher at a vocational secondary school founded by my grandfather, and he was also the headmaster there for fourteen years. He managed to force the Kiev Ministries to transform the institution into a college, but by the time the building was finished, they wanted to use it for other purposes. He retired from the project and founded the Professional Art Association, the membership of which later reached 150 people. The Soviet state created a memorial museum out of my grandfather Fedor’s family house as a tribute to his work, and my father was actively involved in its creation. Today my sister is the director of the museum.
Also, in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the Ruthenian culture, in 2019 the World Council of Rusyns established the Highest Ruthenian National Cultural Award named after Ivan Manaylo "Pro Arte Ruthenorum".
After such precedents You had obviously no doubts about becoming a painter...
That was really my only conception. I consciously prepared for this profession. First I studied art in Uzhgorod, then in Lviv, and finally in St. Petersburg. For five years I kept returning to the Ilya Repin Art Academy to learn the techniques of great masters.
How did You come to Hungary?
In 1993 me and my Rusyn-Hungarian wife, applied artist Andrea Ilykó decided to move to Vác, and my parents followed us. My father was able to ask for repatriation in 1998, as he was born a Hungarian citizen. We found ourselves in an infinitely hospitable country, where we have never been treated as strangers. These positive experiences had a very good effect on my father: a productive, interesting era began in his art. He sought out new ways of expression and encouraged me to do the same. I myself believe that if the artist enjoys the process of creation, this joy comes through the pictures and the recipient perceives the positive radiance. Thank God, my father still lived to see my first successful independent exhibition at the Hungarian House in 2010.
Did your painting career rise high quickly in Hungary?
I would not say so. I started working as a graphic artist in advertisement, and later I launched my own advertising company. As our sons, Gregor and Iván grew, I painted more and more. The house we built incorporates my own studio.
How did public engagement and the leadership of the Rusyn Self-Government come into play?
It was natural for me to embrace my Rusyn identity in Hungary as well. This does not contradict my wellbeing here among our Hungarian friends. We always spoke Rusyn at home, and using Hungarian was very difficult for me at first. At the beginning of the 2000s we established the Rusyn Minority Self-Government in Vác. Between 2007 and 2010 I became the president of the National Rusyn Self-Government, so we could make bigger plans. In 2007 I founded the Carpathian Region for Culture Non-Profit Association and three years later the Pannon World Cultural and Educational Centre. With Maria Ortutay I was a publisher and editor of the bilingual Rusyn-Hungarian cultural journal, Pannon World. I organized scientific conferences and encouraged the publication of works strengthening Rusyn identity. Using the model of ancient Rusyn wooden churches, I helped to create a Greek Catholic church in 2009 in Máriapócs. In addition, I am proud that in 2017 I arranged the publication of a representative reserch with the title “The Place and Role of the Manaylo Family in Universal Rusyn Culture” to immortalize my relatives’ activities. But I try to carry the flag raised by my ancestors in other ways as well. Following my grandfather’s example, who founded the Carpathian Barbizon, we have organized camps at Balatonföldvár (by the Lake Balaton) each summer since 2007 under the name “Földvár Barbizon”, and many artists living in or coming from the Carpathian Basin participate in them. For this, the support of businessman György Benza's patronage was essential too.
What happens to the paintings created at the Földvár Barbizon camps?
They get into the International Contemporary Rusyn Art Collection, which belongs to the museum collection of the National Rusyn Self-Government. These efforts all contributed to the fact that – to my great surprise – I earned the honourable State award, the "Pro Cultura Minoritatum Hungariae".
After such success why did You quit leading the self-government? Because it is better to stop when you are on top?
In 2010 I did not run for presidential office again because of the stress and burden involved. My decision was partly motivated by the fact that I was invited to more and more exhibitions. That success deeply influenced me. It was so good to experience the positive attitude of the audience and to feel the waves of sympathy on my skin that I decided to look for possibilities to exhibit in more countries. An art dealer from a small Swiss town, Zug, gave me the first chance to showcase my paintings abroad. I painted the three confederates, and my artwork was included in the settlement's collection. That exhibition brought on another opportunity: I was invited to the Ukrainian Embassy in Bern, and later I also introduced my work in Abu Dhabi, where oil sheiks bought my paintings. After getting to know Imre Pákh, the famous collector of Munkácsy paintings, I was invited to New York, and I could stay in Mr. Pákh’s Manhattan home full of art treasures. He encouraged me and helped me to meet American art dealers. I was able to exhibit first at the 2013 Art Expo in New York, and later in Los Angeles, Chicago and Florida. In these places numerous galleries accepted my work and are selling them. Since then, I regularly go to United States, getting more and more invitations every year.
Is a Manaylo fanbase evolving overseas as well?
My artist name abroad is Andrew Manaylo. The most famous collector of my pictures is Robert Harris Rothschild, who invited me to his home. It was strange but a great honour to see my paintings among those of Andy Warhol, Salvador Dalí and other world-famous artists. My American art collectors stand for their decisions. Robert claimed, too, that he only hangs up his favorite paintings on his wall.
Has your vision changed after travelling so much?
During my studies in St. Petersburg, I was fascinated by the world of ballet and started out with the principles of academic painting in mind. However, after seeing many countries, museums, contemporary galleries and knowledgeable people, I gathered strong visual and intellectual experiences. For example, my composition of the Grand Canyon is much more abstract than my older paintings. I wanted to capture the spirit of the place. I endeavor to create lines which boost the viewer’s imagination, so that they start to own the piece. This creative process leads to clarity. As my new "era" is emerging, the outlines of a new way of expression are getting more solid. I am continuously experimenting: I use fewer colours, more graphic solutions, try new paints, techniques, and boldly match acrylic with oil. What is more, I would also like to try sculpting. With my wife, Andrea, we are preparing to discover Italy and Southern France. My experiences will hopefully lead me to an even clearer and more exciting language of art to build bridges towards viewers.