Koperniczky House of Artists

“I was born on a farm in the snowy Bakony mountains in February 1922. Soon we moved from the home of outlaws to the home village of famous outlaw Savanyú Jóska. Here I spent my magical childhood. I wrote magical, because I saw everything as in a fairy-tale.”

This is how Kopernitzky István remembers his childhood. His father was an under-steward of the Benedictine order of Pannonhalma, first in Bakonyjákó-Járiföld, then in Izsákfa of the Kemenes region. He was a pupil at the Szent Mór Grammar School from 1932 to 1940. After school years he became a student of medicine at the Pázmány Péter Royal Hungarian University. This is where he met the arts, and discovered the Hall of Artists, where he realized that he liked painting, especially by studying the works of painter Paál László.

Alongside his studies at the university he also frequently visited the repository of the museum and studied the paintings stored there. Then he took up painting, and copied techniques used by the great artists. Gradually he became more and more successful. The forest named “Enyi”, to be found in the precinct of Kemenes became the favourite topic of his pictures, as he expressed his nostalgia towards home, the landscape, the village community and his family. Later on he took up the alias “Enyi”. He finished his medicine studies in Germany during WW2.

The magical childhood was soon to be replaced by poverty. After the communists took power, he became a class-alien, as his father was supposedly a servant of the church. Their lodging and furniture was taken away, all opportunities were closed. In this difficult situation the son stayed at home as wage-earner. He worked as an underworker in the Enyi forest to be able to support his family. During this time he suffered greatly, often going without food, as he wrote: “… walking on the edge of existence and nonexistence, I struggled for the survival of my parents and siblings.”

After the revolution of 1956 his destiny brought him to the lung sanatorium run in the Erdődy palace next to Somló hill, where he was hired as an X-ray doctor. The great park of the palace served as a new topic for his paintings.
We, the people from Doba remember Enyi István always walking with an easel, his brushes, a camera hanging from his neck, along the bank of Hajagos brook, or on one of the paths leading to the Somló. It was during this time that Somló hill, or as he called it “Queen Somló” became his favourite topic.

He came to like this land very much, and bought a small estate at the foot of the Somló hill, where he later built the House of Artists, or “Fairy-Place” as he named it. As soon as his means allowed, he let a chapel gallery built behind the thatched roofed building, as he spoke of his works of art as follows: “I always intended to show God’s beauty through my art.”

Nearly 60 of his paintings can be seen in the gallery. After his death in 2006 his ashes were laid in the urn built in the gallery, following his last will. In his testament he left all his personal and real property, his beloved and treasured paintings to the village of Doba, provided that they worthily maintain and keep them together, preserving all for the after-world.

The exhibition may be visited following a preliminary check-in
Mayor’s office Doba: 36-88/502-920

GPS coordinates

N 47.158671000; E 17.374863000;