Agathe Sorel Biography

Agathe Sorel




Agathe Sorel, painter, printmaker and sculptor, was born in Budapest, Hungary on May 13, 1935 to Dr Gyula Szüts and his wife Magda Biro. She and her family survived the war due to the intervention of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews.

She studied stage design, murals, frescoes and mosaic at Budapest’s Academy of Applied Art between 1949 and 1955. She immigrated to England in 1956 and studied printmaking at Camberwell School of Art in London. Sorel won a Gulbenkian Scholarship and moved to Paris for two years studying at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, the Sorbonne and Stanley William Hayter’s experimental workshop Atelier 17. She found Hayter’s unconventional techniques in printmaking an inspiration and used his teaching methods in her own classes at Camberwell, Canterbury, Maidstone and Goldsmith’s College. In 1960 she returned to England, set up a print workshop in Fulham, and began teaching in Camberwell and Maidstone Colleges. Along with Michael Rothenstein, Julian Trevelyan, and Anthony Gross she formed the Printmaker's Council, and in 1966-67 she was awarded a Churchill fellowship to work in the United States and Mexico.

Sorel continued to innovate, fascinated by the possibilities of working in Perspex and other plastics. She first engraved these and printed from them but then began to construct sculptures from plastics into which she had engraved and then applied etching ink. She called these her Space Engravings which toured to several European destinations. She was fascinated by the possibilities of photocopying and digital printing and experimented with both.

Sorel's work has been included in numerous solo exhibitions and a retrospective of her work was mounted at the Bradford Museum Cartwright Hall and her work is represented in the Tale Gallery, Victoria and Alberta Museum, British Museum, Ashmolean Museum, New York Public Library, Library of Congress, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Art Institute of Chicago, Stedelijk Museum, Coppenhagen Museum, and the Bibliotheque National de France.

In 1973, she and her husband Gabor Sitkey bought a house in Lanzarote, inspired by its volcanic landscape. Agathe Sorel died on July 30, 2020.