By Julie Taffet
The Jewish Federation’s Women’s Division will host a Lunch & Learn program on March 26 with Lindsey Jancay, who will discuss the relatively unknown artist Laszlo Matulay and his deep local connections.
Matulay was born in Vienna in 1912. He attended school at the Academy of Applied Arts and graduated with a degree in graphics and painting. In 1935, Matulay emigrated to the United States and settled in New York, where he was a freelance illustrator and designer.
He eventually made his way to Emmaus to serve as the first artistic director of Rodale, Inc. He died in 1999 at the age of 86.
Matulay’s “fine art” has been exhibited at the New York World’s Fair, the Museum of Modern Art and the Pennsylvania Art Association. The collection is currently housed at Congregation Keneseth Israel and there will be an exhibition of his work at the Gallery at the JCC in August.
Some of his clients for illustrations, magazines and children books include Harper’s Bazaar, Fortune Magazine and Columbia Publishing Company. In 1980, Alpine Fine Arts published Matulay’s autobiography, “Then and Now,” that does not have words but rather 112 haunting line drawings.
Matualy is known so little as an artist because he is not listed in standard reference books and had only a few minor exhibitions of his work. He didn’t publicize or market his work in a way that would make it known, said Alfred Bader of Alfred Bader Fine Arts at Purdue University in 2002. Rather, he gave it away to family and friends, Bader said.
Jancay has been researching Matulay and finds a lot of value in his work. “What is so exciting to me about working with the Laszlo Matulay Collection is the wide range of materials it features,” she said. “With over 2,000 pieces, ranging from paintings and drawings to letters to teaching materials, the collection offers us unique insight into how Matulay's work impacted both his local and global communities. His efforts to highlight the goodness in humankind and contribute to the world around him through his artwork and design are intensified within the context of the collection. While Matulay's artwork already speaks volumes, the dialogue is deepened through the intimate details we can only find in the ephemera that makes up a great deal of the collection.”
Jancay earned her bachelor’s degree in English literature and studio art at Cedar Crest College. She pairs her editorial experience with print and online publications with her work in archives, focusing mostly on artists’ books and arts publications.
Jancay aims to make scholarly information easily available, and encourage the consideration of non-traditional resource materials through archive development. To do this, she looks at online resources and experimental publications.
Meet Jancay, hear more about Matualy and see some of Matualy’s work at the Women’s Division Lunch & Learn on Thursday, March 26, from 12 to 1:30 p.m. at the JCC of Allentown. Cost is $12 including lunch, men and women welcome.