Washington, D.C. – Members of the Hungarian American Coalition (Coalition) were deeply saddened to learn that Nóra Szabó passed away on September 8, 2023, at her home in Budapest, Hungary, surrounded by loved ones. She was 84 years old.
Nóra Szabó, born Eleonóra Kiss in 1939, was the older daughter of Dr. Elemér and Éva Kiss. During her childhood, the family lived on Móricz Zsigmond Körtér in Budapest, Hungary. A talented artist in her youth, she attended the Gymnasium of Fine and Applied Arts in Budapest until the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Following the defeat of the Revolution, the Kiss family emigrated to the United States and settled in Silver Spring, Maryland. In 1959, she married Károly Szabó, an accomplished chemical engineer, who assisted the family’s escape to the West. In 1962, their son, Charles Ákos, was born. She resumed her studies in fine arts at the State University of New York in Syracuse.
In 1970, the Szabó family moved to Vienna, Austria, where Károly became a U.S. diplomat at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. While Nóra raised their son and supported Károly in his professional activities, she continued to develop as a ceramicist and painter. She accompanied Károly on many international missions, including to South America, the Near and Far East and East Africa, which fueled her artistic inspirations.
Nóra had a very successful career as a visual artist. Over the past 40 years she had many solo and group exhibits in the United States, Italy, Hungary and Austria. Her paintings can be found in private and public collections in Austria, Hungary, and the United States. The themes that run through her artwork are the “winding and unwinding the thread that runs through human history” and the “cyclical changes of power and dogma.”
In 2016, Nóra gave an interview about her life and family that can be viewed at https://memoryproject.online/nora-szabo/. In addition, an anthology of her artwork will be published in 2024.
Nóra was a long-time member and generous supporter of the Coalition. In 1995, the Coalition was privileged to co-sponsor her exhibition at the prestigious Vasarely Museum in Budapest. She was only the second Hungarian American exhibited by the Museum, which presents outstanding Hungarian-born artists who live and paint in the West. Nóra and Károly sponsored dozens of students through the Kolozsvár Reformed Kollégium Godparents’ Program. Through the years, she attended many Coalition events and donated to projects, including the creation of the 1956 Hungarian Freedom Fighter statue completed last year in Atlanta, GA.
After spending decades in Vienna, Austria, Nóra and Károly moved to Budapest where she lived until her death. She is survived by her son Dr. Charles Ákos Szabó and daughter-in-law, Dr. Luz Moreno (San Antonio, TX), grandchildren Miklós (Austin, TX) and Dániel Szabó (New York, NY); her sister Mrs. Edith K. Lauer (Shaker Heights, OH and Budapest, Hungary); her nieces and their families: Kriszta Lauer and Robert Nagy (Plano, TX) and Andrea Lauer and Barton Rice and their children Nicholas and John Patrick (Roswell, GA); and many extended family members.
In her loving memory, the family will establish an art scholarship to benefit Hungarian artists in Hungary and the Carpathian Basin. Details will be announced shortly.
The Hungarian American community mourns the loss of a devoted Hungarian patriot and well-known contemporary artist. Her legacy is an inspiration to all of us.