+64 9 303 1090 | artis@artisgallery.co.nz

Marté Szirmay

Marté Szirmay

Art making for Szirmay is about creating a language of signs and symbols that transcend regional, cultural and social limitations. The works are often conceptualised in terms of focusing devices for ‘healing’, meditation and contemplation. Marté works in a sequential manner ‘thinking through’, questioning and pushing the variable outcomes of ideas. The interaction of the audience with the works has always been a major concern for her. Whether the works are intimate or monumental, their size is always on a ‘human scale’.

Throughout her career Marté has investigated a variety of materials and processes continually seeking the most appropriate manifestation of her ideas.

Marté Szirmay being presented with the McConnell Family Supreme Award at the 2019/20 Sculpture in the Gardens for her piece 'Contained and Protected'

The video, featured below, was filmed during the 2013/14 Sculpture in the Gardens exhibition and features Marté discussing her work, Split (Earthquake series).

Marté Szirmay was born in Budapest, Hungary and arrived in New Zealand in 1957. She studied and the University of Auckland School of Fine Arts where she graduated DFA (Hons) in 1968, and in 1970 gained a Teaching Diploma from Auckland Secondary Teachers College.

In 1971 and 1972 Szirmay was the Frances Hodgkins Fellow at the University of Otago, Dunedin and was awarded QEII Arts Council Grants in 1973, 1978 and again in 1982, the year during which she was the visiting artist at the Johnson Atelier, Princeton, New Jersey. In 1983 Szirmay again obtained the coveted status of visiting artist, this time at the Governors State University, Illinois, USA.

Since 1969 Szirmay has had numerous solo exhibitions within New Zealand, and internationally she has participated in Group exhibitions in London, Budapest, Helsinki, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Sweden, Crete, Spain and Australia. She is represented in private and public collections throughout the world.

Szirmay works mostly in series; knowing a series is complete when the artist realizes that she has begun to explore another direction. The new series grows organically from the old – her creative process is metamorphic. She bases her sculptural language on natural forms: shells, eggs, seed pods, fossils, bones, trees and fern fronds. For her, sculpture is a means of ‘paying homage to the organic’. 

Her works vary considerably in size. She has created architectural sculpture, sculpture for city squares, wall reliefs and free-standing objects ranging from person-size to hand-size. Two basic methods are employed in creating her works; the lost-wax casting technique for small pieces and welded sheet metal for the majority of her large works.

Marté Szirmay has been represented in ARTIS Gallery since 2012 and over the past six years has participated in group sculpture shows, including the Auckland Art Fair. Her works have also been exhibited at the biennial Sculpture in the Gardens exhibition at Auckland Botanic Gardens. Szirmay was named the curators’ choice for the McConnell Family Supreme Award for Sculpture in the Gardens 2019/20. The judges praised her work Contained and Protected for demonstrating superior skills of craftsmanship as its expressed her concerns for the fragility of nature and humanity’s abuse of it.

Marté is also a founding member of the Medal Artists of New Zealand (MANZ). ARTIS will hold an exhibition for this Group every two years – the next show ‘Two Faced’, opens on 19th March 2019.

Marté Szirmay has work in public and private collections throughout New Zealand and in Australia, USA, Canada, Britain, Hungary and Sweden. A work is currently on display in Newmarket, Auckland.


2007  – An A-Z of New Zealand Art, pp. 58-59. Eggleton, David. Toward Aotearoa A short history of 20th Century NZ art. Reed Publishing (NZ) Ltd. pp. 146-148.
Keith, Hamish. The Big Picture. A History of NZ art from 1642. Auckland: Godwit Book, Published by Random House NZ, p.241
Keith, Hamish. The Big Picture. Documentary by Filmworks for TVNZ. [Smirnoff Sculpture, Newmarket].
“Marte Szirmay. Letter and The Literary Man Tends a ModernGarden”, by Keith Ireland. In Dear To Me, Auckland: Random House NZ, pp. 210-211.
2003  – Marte Szirmay. In Art Addictions. 100 Contemporary Artists. Volume 1. World of Art Books, pp.76-77.2003 Brodie, David. Pacific Rim: Te Paeo Te Moananui a Kiwa. The Medal, 4:79-82.
Dunn, Michael. New Zealand Sculpture: A History. Auckland: Auckland University Press, pp.105, 114-117.
Szirmay, Marte. In Alister Taylor (ed.), New Zealand Who’s Who Aotearoa Special Millennium 2001 Edition. Auckland: Alister Taylor Publications & New Zealand Who’s Who Publications Ltd, p.849.
2001 –  Holman, Dinah. Newmarket Lost and Found. Auckland: Bush Press of New Zealand, p.159.
1998 –  Pitts, Priscilla. Contemporary New Zealand Sculpture – Themes and Issues. Auckland: David Bateman, pp.127, 128-130.
1997 – Wood, Agnes. Colin McCahon: The Man and the Teacher. Auckland: David Ling, pp. 93, 94, 96-99.
1996 – Brown, Warwick. Another 100 New Zealand Artists. Auckland, Godwit Press, No.84.
1991 – Kirker, Anne. New Zealand Women Artists. A Survey of 150 Years. Auckland: Reed Methuen, pp.11, 53, 156, 158-161, 227.
Kirker, Anne. Women & art. In S. Cox (ed.), Public and Private Worlds: Women in Contemporary New Zealand. Auckland: Allen & Unwin, pp.97, 99.
1986 – A Survey of Recent New Zealand Art. [Catalogue]. Wellington: National Art Gallery, pp.82, 83, 133-134.
Eastmond, Elizabeth and Merimeri Penfold. Forty Works. Women and the Arts in New Zealand. Early Works 1936-1986. Auckland: Penguin Books, p.17 and Plate 34 – Sculpture for the Gibbs’ garden.
Johnston, Alexa. Marte Szirmay. In Aspects of Recent New Zealand Art: Sculpture 1. [Catalogue]. Auckland: Auckland City Art Gallery.
Kirker, Anne. New Zealand Women Artists. Auckland: Reed Methuen, pp. 3, 53, 170-174, 222.
Szirmay, Marte. In Illustrated Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, p.1182.


1960-1964 Auckland Girls’ Grammar School
1968 Graduated DFA (Hons), University of Auckland, Elam School of Fine Arts
1969 Dip. Teaching, Auckland College of Education


2002 – Award, Art Addiction, Sweden, The 6th International Miniature Art Exhibition
2000 – Merit Award, World Festival of Art on Paper, Kranj-Slovania
1998 Honorary Selection, Art Addiction, Venice. International ‘Masks in Venice Exhibition’
1997 – Honorary Selection, Art Addiction, Sweden. International Miniature Art Exhibition
1994 Selected as a Woman of the Year, International Biographical Centre, USA
1983 – Visiting Artist, Governors State University, Illinois, USA
1982 – Visiting Artist, Johnson Atelier, Princeton, New Jersey, USA
1982 – New Zealand Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council Award
1978 – New Zealand Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council Award
1973 – New Zealand Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council Award
1971, 1972 – Frances Hodgkins Fellow, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
1968 – Air New Zealand Sculpture Award
1967 – DFA Senior Scholar Fine Arts, University of Auckland, New Zealand


2009 – nkb Gallery, Auckland
2004 – McPherson Gallery, Auckland
2002 – McPherson Gallery, Auckland
1999 – Drawings Gallery, Auckland
1997 – Drawings Gallery, Auckland
1995 – Lopdell House, Titirangi, Auckland
Drawings Gallery, Auckland
1992 – Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland
1991 – Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland
1989 – Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland
1988 – Fisher Gallery, Auckland
1987 – Lopdell House, Titirangi, Auckland
1986 – Denis Cohn Gallery, Auckland
Janne Land Gallery, Wellington
1984 – New Vision Gallery, Auckland
1983 – CSA Gallery, Christchurch
New Vision Gallery, Auckland
1981 – Janne Land Gallery, Wellington
New Vision Gallery, Auckland
The Hocken Library Gallery, Dunedin
1980 – New Vision Gallery, Auckland
1978 – Bosshard Galleries, Dunedin
Manawatu Art Gallery, Palmerston North
New Vision Gallery, Auckland
Victoria University, Wellington
1977 – CSA Gallery, Christchurch
1976 – Barry Lett Galleries, Auckland
Bishop Suter Gallery, Nelson
Bosshard Galleries, Dunedin
Brooke-Gifford Gallery, Christchurch
1974 – Barry Lett Galleries, Auckland
1973 – Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth
1972 – Barry Lett Galleries, Auckland
Dawson’s Gallery, Dunedin
Waikato Art Gallery, Hamilton
1971 – CSA Gallery, Christchurch
Dawson’s Gallery, Dunedin
1970 – Barry Lett Galleries, Auckland


2011 – Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Art Educators Service Award
2004-6 – Woollaston Estate, Nelson, New Zealand
2003 – Sir Gordon and Lady Tait, Auckland, New Zealand
1997 – Commemorative Presentation Medal, Consulate of the Republic of Hungary, New Zealand
1993 – Mr and Mrs K. Gosling, Auckland
Mr and Mrs J. Matthews, New Plymouth
1992 – Glendowie College, Auckland
1990 – Mr and Mrs P. Cross, Auckland
Mr and Mrs J. Hood, Auckland
1987 – Hawkins Development, Hurstmere Plaza, Takapuna, Auckland
Chase Corporation, Stock Exchange Plaza, Auckland
1986 – Mr and Mrs J. Gellert, Auckland
Mrs C. Giltrap, Auckland
Auckland City Art Gallery Survey Exhibition 1
1985 – A. and J. Gibbs, Auckland
Hawkins Development, Auckland
1984 – New Zealand Peace Foundation, Media Peace Prize
Bexley Development, Marac House, Manukau City
1982-83  -New Zealand Foreign Affairs Department, Singapore
1979 – New Zealand Housing Corporation Building, Manukau City Centre
1976 – Auckland Architectural Association (Monier Awards)
1975-76 – Otago University Medical School, Dunedin
University of Auckland Medical School, Auckland
1974 – St. Cuthbert’s College, Auckland
1972 – St. Paul’s Cathedral, Dunedin
1969 – Newmarket Borough Council (Smirnoff Award)