Furniture Making and Painting

Furniture Making and PaintingMany of the Hungarian Reformed Presbyterian churches in Transylvania and some parts of Hungary have painted furniture and ceiling decorations dating back to the 17th to 20th centuries. The furniture of these churches set the fashion in the respective villages.  Certain pieces of furniture had particular symbolic and ceremonial importance and were displayed in a special room and at ceremonial events in Hungarian peasant homes. These included the chair of the head of the family, the dowry chest of the bride and a decorated bed piled high with pillows. These pieces were most often made by professional craftsmen. It was customary for carpenters to hand-paint furniture in the freestyle technique, using flower motifs.


The Sütő Family

The town of Vargyas is located in Szeklerland, Transylvania [Present day Romania].  It has been regarded as the center of Translyvanian painted furniture crafting for many generations, and is renowned for the high quality of its products. The Sütő Family is the most famous of the painted furniture makers. Since 1568, there have been carpenters and painters in every generation of the family. Masters in the family used natural materials to prepare the paint, including a tool called the ‘paint-breaking stone’.  Sütő Family members have carved their names onto the two sides of their family stone in 1680 and in 1754.  The current house of the Sütő Family dates from 1773.

Furniture Making and Painting


Levente Lehel Sütő

Levente Lehel Sütő is a 14th generation craftsman of the renowned Sütő Family. He learned furniture painting and carving from his father and grandfather.

He is well trained in the techniques and traditions of traditional carpentry and also has a degree in Ethnography. He prepares the casein-based paints himself, adding pigments and minerals to create colors.

His works can be found in Copenhagen, Berlin and in a 200 year-old restored samurai home in Japan. He received the Master of Folk Art Award in 2011. He is often invited to International Folk Art Markets, such as that in Santa Fe in 2012.

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