Kalman Radvanyi was 11 years old his family left Hungary and moved to Austria and later Australia. Now living in the capital, Canberra at age 12, Kalman began to study the delicate techniques of fine wood working and became especially interested in creating images using wood marquetry.
Kalman Radvanyi was born in 1976 in Budapest, Hungary.
As a child Kalman has spent time at great cathedrals in Budapest and Vienna. After these visits he would spend hours drawing what he has memorized.
He developed a particular interest in gothic architecture. Later Kalman experimented by precisely cutting small pieces of wood veneers, or timbers, and arranging them like a puzzle to create an image. At this time he also taught himself the theories of perspective and mathematics involved in gothic architecture. He developed techniques that, when applied to marquetry, could give his drawings depth, dimension and life. This study led Kalman to collect antique books dedicated to this architectural style. During this time in his life Kalman began to focus more on art to express his feelings and he began to re-create structures of grand beauty in wood. By selecting various timbers with different colors, textures and grains, he could create different effects. By the age of 13 Kalman had already won several awards in art shows.
Although based on places he has seen in his life, Kalman draws each idea from his imagination. He first creates a drawing where he works out the details of the design. Then each piece is completely hand-made, seamlessly combining ancient and modern techniques to reach the highest level of marquetry in the world. Even the tools used to cut and shape the timber pieces are handmade, by Kalman, of cobalt steel in his studio as the particular shapes of blades that are necessary are not commercially available.
Using these handmade tools, every piece of wood is individually hand cut to flawlessness and inserted one by one. Each artwork can contain up to a thousand pieces of natural timbers, these timbers are sourced from dozens of countries around the world and are often only 1/10 inch thick. One of his art pieces may take up to six months to complete, incorporating up to 130 species of natural timbers, some of which are over a thousand years old. Over the next two decades Kalman perfected this “new” Radvanyi style.
Kalman Radvanyi is recognized worldwide for the beauty and imagery in his work combined with the precision and skill with which he executes the details. There quite simply is no one else in the world doing this level of wood marquetry. His work is now in some of the most prestigious private and public collections in the world.
Recently Kalman has created a new collection of work that contains wood timbers, rare gemstones and even solid gold. He has mastered the special knowledge necessary to be able to select, cut and place gemstones into one of his artworks. Recently completed work has included 240 million year old Australian Opals, Canadian Ammolite, Madagascar Natural Rubies, African Blue Diamonds, African Red Sapphires and Bolivian Purple Amethysts.
Kalman Radvanyi sees himself, in a sense, as a painter. “I paint with wood” says the artist. “I perceive the finished image long before I begin; every type of wood, every shade. A painter has to mix paint to accommodate his ideas, whereas in marquetry the appropriate timber has to be found – the perfect grain, the perfect knot, the perfect shade, so that everything accommodates a perfect result.”
These days Kalman can be found working in his studio with his two young daughters playing at his feet and encouraged by his wife. He continues to innovate, taking the art of wood marquetry in new directions and to new heights. He is a master of extraordinary creativity and ability. The combination of subject matter, mathematics, perspective, drawing and of selecting, cutting and placement of just the right timbers to create a single masterpiece that is Kalman Radvanyi.