Lajos Kassák

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Kassák in Vienna, c1922.
Born March 21, 1887(1887-03-21)
Érsekújvár, Austria-Hungary (now Nové Zámky, Slovakia)
Died July 22, 1967(1967-07-22) (aged 80)
Budapest, Hungary
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Lajos Kassák (1887–1967) was a Hungarian poet, novelist, painter, essayist, editor, and theoretician of the avant-garde.


Based on the panel at permanent exhibition in the Kassák Museum, Budapest; there compiled from biographical text by Ferenc Csaplár.

  • 1887: Born in Érsekújvár, Austria-Hungary.
  • 1900: Leaves school for apprenticeship as locksmith.
  • 1904: Moves to Budapest and starts working in factories in Angyalföld and Újpest. Participates in trades union political campaigns and joins Hungarian Social Democratic Party.
  • 1908: First poem published in the weekly Újpest.
  • 1909: Sets out for Western Europe on foot, with no money. Discovers art in the museums. Returns to Budapest in December.
  • 1915: Founds anti-militarist periodical A Tett [The Action].
  • 1916: The international issue of A Tett appears with contributions from writers and artists from countries at war with the monarchy, and the periodical is banned. Launches a new periodical MA [Today].
  • 1919: During Hungarian Soviet Republic enters into dispute with Commissar Bela Kun over avant-garde art and the independence of art from politics. MA subsequently prevented from appearing. After the failure of the Soviet Republic spends five months in prison.
  • 1920: After his release, leaves the country for exile in Vienna. Relaunches MA, formulates the theoretical basis of Hungarian constructivism and develops wide contacts with European avant-garde movements.
  • 1926: Returns to Hungary and starts up new journal, Dokumentum [Document] which lasts for one year.
  • 1928: Launches a new, independent, left-wing journal Munka [Work] and associated movement.
  • 1928-34: Leader of a socially-aware educational society of students and workers, grouped around Munka. Writes regularly for the newspapers Népszava [People's Voice] and Szocializmus [Socialism], protesting against Stalinist tyranny and extreme right-wing movements.
  • 1939: Exhibits in the Galerie Charpentier, Paris. A new law restricting press freedom closes down Munka.
  • 1940-45: Publishes several novels, books of reports and books of verse. In 1940, an anti-war poem causes him to be imprisoned for two months under a 1937 court judgement.
  • 1945: After the war takes on several positions in cultural affairs in the new political climate. Edits the relaunched Új Idők [New Times] and then the Alkotás [Art] and Kortárs [The Contemporary].
  • 1948: His journals are closed down, he is excluded from public affairs, and his poems and articles cannot be published.
  • 1956: Stands up for the Revolution, returns to artistic affairs.
  • 1957: Public involvement limited, but his old writing begins to be republished.
  • 1960: Exhibition of his work in the Galerie Denise René in Paris, resumption of his international career. Still ignored as an artist in Hungary.
  • 1965: Awarded Kossuth Prize for his poetry.
  • 1967: Holds the last exhibition in his life in the Adolf Fényes Room in Budapest, at his own expense.




  • editor, A Tett, 17 numbers, 1915-16.
  • editor, MA, 76 numbers, Budapest (1916-19) and Vienna (1919-25), 1916-25.
  • editor, Akasztott Ember, 5 numbers, Vienna, 1922-23.
  • editor, Dokumentum, 5 numbers, Budapest, 1926-27.
  • editor, Munka, 65 numbers, Budapest, 1928-39.
  • Novelláskönyv: Válogatott novellák 1911-1919, Vienna: Bán-Verlag, 1921, 123 pp. (Hungarian)
  • editor, with Lászlo Moholy-Nagy, Buch neuer Künstler, Vienna and Budapest: Aktivista Foliorat, 1922. An anthology of modern art and poetry. [2] (German)
    • Új művészek könyve, Bécs, 1922; repr., Budapest: Európa-Corvina, 1977, 104 pp. [3] (Hungarian)
  • MA-Buch. Gedichte, trans. & intro. Andreas Gáspár, Berlin: Der Sturm, 1923, 62 pp, KHZ; facs., Budapest: Kassák Múzeum, 1999. (German)
  • Egy ember élete, 3 vols. (Gyermekkor, Kamaszévek, Csavargások), Budapest: Dante, 1927. [4] [5] (Hungarian)
    • Als Vagabund unterwegs, trans. Friderika Schag, Berlin: Volk und Welt, 1979, 204 pp. (German)
    • Vagabondages, trans. & pref. Roger Richard, Séguier, 2020, 248 pp. Trans. of Csavargások. [6] (French)
  • Kôň zomrie, vtáky sa rozletia, trans. Vojtěch Kondrót, Bratislava: Slovenský spisovateľ, 1971. Poems. (Slovak)
  • more, more


  • Kassák, eds. Ferenc Csaplár, Mariann Gergely, Péter György, and Gábor Pataki, Budapest: Magyar Nemzeti Galéria & Petőfi Irodalmi Múzeum, 1987. (Hungarian)
  • Szász János, Kovács Tamás, Lappangó elem, Budapest: Kassák Museum, 1991. (Hungarian)
  • Kassák Lajos: Érsekújvár, ed. Ferenc Csaplár, Budapest: Kassák Múzeum, 1992. (Hungarian)
  • Kassák Lajos: Reklám és modern tipográfia, ed. Ferenc Csaplár, Budapest: Kassák Múzeum, 1999. (Hungarian)
  • Lajos Kassák. Botschafter der Avantgarde 1915-1927, Budapest: Literaturmuseum Petőfi & Kassák Museum, 2011, 101 pp. [7] (German)
  • Jelzés a világba – Háború ∩ avantgárd ∩ Kassák, eds. Gábor Dobó and Merse Pál Szeredi, Budapest: Kassák Alapítvány, 2016. TOC. [8] (Hungarian)
    • Signal to the World: War ∩ Avant-Garde ∩ Kassák, eds. Gábor Dobó and Merse Pál Szeredi, Budapest: Kassák Foundation, 2016. [9] (English)


  • Endre Gáspár, Kassák Lajos - az ember és munkája, Bécs, 1924. (Hungarian)
  • Tomáš Štrauss, Kassák. Ein ungarischer Beitrag zum Konstruktivizmus, Cologne, 1975. (German)
  • József R. Juhász, Péter H. Nagy (eds.), A Kassák-kód, Bratislava: Szlovákiai Magyar Írók Társasága, 2008, 206 pp. (Hungarian)
  • Zoltán Péter, Lajos Kassák, Wien und der Konstruktivismus 1920-1926, Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2010, 316 pp. [10]. Review: Deréky (Kakanien 2010). (German)

Documentary films[edit]

  • Zavýjať po svojom [Howling Like We Do; Magunk módjára üvölten], dir. Asia Dér, 2022, 97 min. [11] [12]

See also[edit]