Margit Gaál published her only known portfolio of prints when she was just twenty-two years old and still studying in Budapest. Songes galantes (Courageous Dreams) seems to sum up all the romantic – bordering on erotic – dreams of a young art student steeped in literature, religion and mythology.
Here we have Susannah and the elders and Potiphar’s wife, Apollo and Leda with her swan, and Paul Verlaine’s lesbian amies. And moi-même, herself as a beautiful young woman, cat on her shoulder, ready to experience all that life and art still had to offer – a truly inclusive portfolio of courageous dreams.
The French connection – the captions and the place of publication – are significant, demonstrating a strong connection between the art worlds of Budapest and Paris in the early twenties. Do we imagine a French art publisher, Simon Kra or Maurice Duflou maybe, seeing Gaál’s work on a visit to Hungary and suggesting the frisson of a privately-published portfolio by an attractive young art student?
Songes galantes was privately published in a limited numbered edition of 500 copies.