When founded by the state in 1955, the Gyula Derkovits Scholarship provided its winners, artists under 35, with a monthly stipend of HUF 3000, for three years. Today, grantees receive a monthly gross HUF 80.000 throughout eleven (!) months, and a chance to participate at the annual review exhibitions, their presentations at which may qualify them for two more renewals of the grant. A young artist (painter, sculptor, graphic or media artist) becomes eligible once she has produced a body of original works. The participation criteria have become less rigorous over the years: grantees can now stage solo exhibitions, take commissions and sell works during the grant period—not to mention that there are no more compulsory ideological seminars, and volunteer work at farms or factories is no longer mandatory.
While the real value of the grant was much higher when it was introduced, providing a real boost for living standards, most of today’s grantees boast a considerable exhibition history, are associated with commercial galleries, have works in private and public collections, and are welcome to show their creativity abroad. The scholarship is nonetheless popular (with nearly 200 applicants each year for the ten positions), because beside its prestige, it is the only form of stable, continuous support from the government.
This year again we can expect what reviewers in recent years have been unanimous about: the thirty artists will offer a very exciting visual experience, a great mixture of styles and genres.