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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Simon Drew

Andras Kaldor obituary

Andras Kaldor opened his gallery in Dartmouth, Devon, in 1980
Andras Kaldor opened his gallery in Dartmouth, Devon, in 1980 Photograph: None

My friend Andras Kaldor, who has died aged 83, was an architect, writer, artist and gallery owner in Dartmouth, Devon. A refugee from Hungary, he was steeped in both western and eastern European tradition.

Andras was born and raised in Budapest, son of Margit (nee Gazdag) and Andras Kaldor, an engineer. He attended the Petofi Gimnazium school in Budapest. Aged 18, he rebelled against the government, which was backed by Russian forces, in the 1956 revolution and escaped from Hungary with a group of friends, travelling to Britain as a refugee. He was taken in by a family in Surrey, where he learned English before moving to Edinburgh to study architecture.

After graduating in 1962, he practised as an architect in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, later also working in London. He married Elizabeth Gill in 1962 and they had three children. The couple later divorced.

In 1975 he married Sally Kempley. Andras had always drawn, painted and sculpted, especially depicting architectural subjects. In 1980 he decided to commit himself to his art, and moved with Sally to Devon, where he opened a gallery in Newcomen Road, Dartmouth.

Based there, he became the driving force behind a disparate band of artists, organising them into a cohesive group, which travelled and exhibited together nationwide.

His own work was shown at galleries in Paris, New York and London, and he was commissioned to create poster designs for the Victoria and Albert Museum (1997) and the Guggenheim Museum, New York (1998).

The Palais Garnier, Paris, painted by Andras Kaldor
The Palais Garnier, Paris, painted by Andras Kaldor Photograph: None

He published three books, on the opera houses of Europe and the architecture of New York and Berlin.

Andras asserted that while gladly embracing the welcome he received into the UK, he retained something of the refugee mentality. He was not interested in money or material gain, but he did value reputation, enjoying the artistic recognition he earned. He was a member of the Chelsea Arts Club and enjoyed the bonds he formed with the other Dartmouth artists.

He continued to draw and paint in his gallery and loved his interactions with the public. He had an easy charm and grace that put people at their ease.

Andras is survived by Sally, his children, Nicola, Sally and Jonathan, and stepchildren, Rupert and Delia, and by nine grandchildren and three step-grandchildren.

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