1923 Kapuvár, Hungary

Judit Reigl was born on May 1, 1923, in Kapuvár, Hungary. After studying painting at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts, Budapest, between 1941 and 1946, she traveled to Italy as the grantee of the Hungarian Academy, Rome. In October 1948, she returned to Hungary, which had been overtaken by a Soviet-style authoritarian regime. Determined to leave and after seven failed attempts, Reigl successfully crossed the Iron Curtain in March 1950 and a few months later arrived in Paris. Her earliest Parisian works, indebted to the oneiric imagery of Surrealism, include photo-collages as well as paintings of monstrous figures and of vividly colored phantasmagorical scenes, as in They Have an Insatiable Thirst for Infinity (Ils ont soif insatiable de l'infini, 1950). From 1952, Reigl started to experiment with gestural paint application that expanded on the Surrealist practice of automatic writing. By painting and scraping the canvas, she produced abstract works that featured elongated, Möbius strip–like biomorphic forms in glowing and often highly saturated colors.

In May 1954, fellow Hungarian painter Simon Hantaï took André Breton to Reigl's studio; Breton immediately offered her a solo exhibition, which she at first turned down, then accepted in November. The show took place at L'étoile scellée, then the gallery of the Parisian Surrealist group, and was composed of both Reigl's figurative and abstract works. After the exhibition, she dissolved her connections with Breton and adopted a purely abstract and vigorously physical approach to painting. By hurling compounds of industrial pigment and linseed oil on the canvas and then molding them with various metal devices into explosive marks, she used her body as an instrument of painting. In resulting series such as Outburst(Éclatement, 1955–58), Center of Dominance (Centre de dominance, 1958–59), and Mass Writing (Écriture en masse, 1959–65), the streaks of pigment appear on white grounds in different spatial and chromatic configurations that suggest force fields, shaped by the kinetic energy of the artist's body and the gravity of paint. In Guano (1958–65), Reigl recycled a group of abandoned canvases that once covered her studio floor by painting over them: the works use the waste material of the studio and, as opposed to the immediacy of her gestural works, record the passage of time through the accumulated layers of thickly textured paint.

In 1963, Reigl left Paris and moved to Marcoussis, a village southwest of the capital. In February 1966, after noticing the emergence of an anthropomorphic figure in her work, she devoted a series of monumental paintings titled Man(Homme, 1966–72) to the representation of fragmented humans, mostly male torsos. In the series Unfolding (Déroulement, 1973–85), she resumed her interest in the spatial-temporal dimension of gesture. Created by the cadences of her moving body as well as by unorthodox paint applications that provoked bleeds through the weave of the canvas, the works in Unfolding feature horizontal rows of graphic signs that are visible on both sides of the paintings. In the late 1980s, she returned to the human figure and has continued her investigation of bodies and spaces ever since.

Reigl's work has been presented in many solo exhibitions in France (Galerie Kléber, Paris, 1956; Galerie rencontres, Paris, 1972; Musée de peinture, Grenoble, 1980; Galerie de France, Paris, 1986); Germany (Galerie Van de Loo, Munich, 1966); Hungary (Erdész-Makláry Fine Arts, Budapest, 2006); and the United States (Janos Gat Gallery, New York, 2007; Ubu Gallery, New York, 2011). Notable group exhibitions include the Guggenheim International Award, 1964 at the Guggenheim Museum, New York (1964), as well as Manifeste: Une histoire parallèle, 1960–1990 (1993) and Elles© Centrepompidou: Artistes femmes dans les collections du Centre Pompidou at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2009–11). Retrospectives were also held at the Maison de la culture, Rennes (1974), and Musée de Brou, Bourg-en-Bresse (1992), both in France, as well as at the MODEM Centre for Modern and Contemporary Arts, Debrecen, Hungary (2010). Reigl lives and works in Marcoussis.

Ágnes Berecz

Works in Public Collections

•Guggenheim Museum, New-York, USA

•Tate Modern, London, Great Britain

•The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New-York, USA

•Museum of Modern Art, ( MOMA), New-York, USA

•Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, New York, USA

•Museum of Fine Arts, Huston, USA

•Musée national d'art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France

•Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France

•Fonds national d'art contemporain (FNAC), France

•Musée de Brou, Bourg-en-Bresse, France

•Musée des Beaux-Arts, Caen, France

•Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dijon, France

•Musée d'Evreux, France

•Musée de Grenoble, France

•Musée Fabre, Montpellier, France

•Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes

•Musée de Soissons, France

•Musée d'art moderne et d'art contemporain, Strasbourg, France

•Musée d'Art contemporain du Val-de-Marne, MACVAL, Vitry-sur-Seine, France

•Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec, Canada

•Musée d'Art Contemporain de Montréal, Canada

•Musée de Rimouski, Québec, Canada

•Ludwig Museum - Museum of Contemporary Arts, Budapest, Hungary

•Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest, Hungary

•Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, Hungary

One man shows:


• Abstract Expressionism 1954-60, Kalman Maklary Fine Arts, Budapest

• Judit Reigl Entree-Sortie, Wienerroither & Kohlbacher Gallery, Wien

• Judit Reigl Drawing-Paintings, Laurentin Gallery, Brussels


• Judit Reigl in the Collection of the Musee national d'art moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris

• Judit Reigl-Simon Hantai Kalman Maklary Fine Arts,

Art Paris, Grand Palais, Paris

• Judit Reigl-Simon Hantai Kalman Maklary Fine Arts,

TEFAF Maastricht

• Judit Reigl-Simon Hantai Kalman Maklary Fine Arts,

Brafa, Bruxelles


Judit Reigl: Recent works on paper, Kalman Maklary Fine Arts, Budapest

Judit Reigl: Unfolding Unfolding, Ubu Gallery, New-York

Judit Reigl, Rooster gallery, New-York    


• Kalman Maklary Fine Arts, Biennale des Antiquaires, Grand Palais, Paris

• Judit Reigl: Retrospective exhibition, MODEM Centre for Modern and Contemporary Arts, Debrecen

• Judit Reigl: Retrospective exhibition, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes 


• Judit Reigl: Deroulements, Kalman Makláry Fine Arts, Budapest

• Kálmán Makláry Fine Arts, Art Paris, Grand Palais, Paris

Judit Reigl, Unfolding, Janos Gat Gallery, New York     


• Judit Reigl: Homme, Kalman Makláry Fine Arts, Budapest

• Kálmán Makláry Fine Arts, Art Paris, Grand Palais, Paris

Judit Reigl, Man, Janos Gat Gallery, New York


• Judit Reigl: Works, Erdész & Makláry Fine Arts, Plug, Műcsarnok, Budapest

Judit Reigl, Déroulements, Galerie L’Or du Temps, Paris Judit Reigl, A Survey, Janos Gat Gallery, New York    


Judit Reigl, Tension 1956-2006, Galerie de France, Paris 

• Judit Reigl: Outburst, works from the 1950’s. Erdész & Makláry Fine Arts, Plug, Műcsarnok, Budapest


Reigl, Múcsarnok Kunsthalle, Budapest  


• Galerie La Navire, Brest   


• Salle Judit Reigl dans le parcours des collections du Musée national d’art moderne - Centre Pompidou, Paris

Judit Reigl, peintre, Fondation pour l’art contemporain, Caisse d’Epargne de Midi-Pyrénées, Toulouse ; L’Arsenal, Musée de Soissons, Soissons


Judit Reigl, Donation au Musée de Brou, Musée de Brou, Bourg-en-Bresse

• Galerie de France, Paris Espace des Blancs-Manteaux (ancienne Galerie Regards), Paris


Judit Reigl, Eléments d’un parcours, Abbaye de Beaulieu-en-Rouergue, Ginals Judit Reigl, Hors, Galerie de France, Paris  


Judit Reigl, Autour de la donation Goreli, Musée national d’art moderne – Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris


Judit Reigl, Musée de Brou, Bourg-en-Bresse Galerie de France, Paris


Judit Reigl (Peintures 1986-1989), Centre d’arts contemporains, Orléans ; FRAC Auvergne, Clermont-Ferrand


• Galerie de France, Paris Judit Reigl, Musée d’Evreux, Ancien Evêché, Evreux


• Galerie Jolliet, Montréal


• Galerie Jolliet, Montréal Judit Reigl, L’art de la fugue, Peintures 1980-1982, Galerie de France, Paris


• Galerie Jolliet, Québec


• Galerie Yvon Lambert, Paris


• Galerie Jolliet, Québec


• Galerie Yvon Lambert, Paris Judit Reigl, Peintures choisies, 1958-1978, Musée de Peinture, Grenoble


• Galerie Rencontres, Paris Judit Reigl, Déroulements, 1973-1976 ; Guano, 1958-1965, ARC 2, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris


• Galerie Rencontres, Paris


• Galerie Rencontres, Paris Judit Reigl, rétrospective, Maison de la Culture, Rennes


• Galerie Rencontres, Paris


• Galerie Rencontres, Paris Maison des jeunes et de la culture, Bures-sur-Yvette


• Galerie Van de Loo, Munich


• Galerie Kléber (Jean Fournier), Paris


• Kunstverein, Freibourg im Breisgau, Allemagne


• Galerie Van de Loo, Essen


• Galerie Kléber (Jean Fournier), Paris


• Galerie Van de Loo, Munich


• Galerie Kléber (Jean Fournier), Paris


• Galerie de l’Etoile Scellée, Paris (exposition présentée par André Breton)