Kitsch, velvet painting, provocative art


Charles Roka


Charles Roka

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Charles Roka (Róka Károly, 1912-1999) was a Hungarian painter living in Norway whose name became synonymous with an excess of artistic kitsch.

Roka was born in Hungary in 1912. After he finished his studies on the Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest he went to a European journey. In 1937 he finally settled in Norway, and lived in Bærum, outside Oslo until his death.

Roka attended one year at the Academy in Oslo. In 1939 he painted his first picture of the half-naked Gipsy Girl whom he had seen in Marseille a few years earlier. It is Roka's numerous variations of this Gipsy Girl which made his financial success as a painter, but misfortune as an artist.

Roka was despised by the art world, he was nevertheless loved by the people. He became famous for his numerous variations of the Gipsy Girl, exotic looking Gypsies in a pin-up style and sentimental portraits of children with their pet dogs. His other favourite subjects were Hungarian folklore, especially Gipsy people dancing csárdás.

Roka had several exhibitions in Madrid, Barcelona, and Lausanne and he was very popular among the average Scandinavian people. In 1982 illness stopped him working. In 2005 Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum held a summer exhibition under the title Prince of Kitsch displaying about 80 of his works. It was the first time that a venerable art gallery let Roka's works within its walls.
















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