Julius Bokor studied art under Lloyd Rees, Robert Klippel, John Olsen and others while also studying architecture, the profession for which he is best known. He was the owner of Mary Place Gallery in the Sydney suburb of Paddington.
Architect, interior designer, gallery director and artist, Julius Bokor, son of Ethel ( nee Matyas ) and Emery Bokor, was born in Budapest Hungary in 1943.After spending his childhood in Budapest, he emigrated with his parents to Sydney in 1957. Briefly attending Public School in Bondi he completed his Leaving Certificate as a private candidate in 1960, working various jobs during the day. Bokor was drawing from an early age, and a visit to Milan en route to Australia an architect family friend showed him buildings including by Bramante. In 1959 he initially studied life drawing in Joe Holloway’s Haymarket studio, life drawing, then took classes the Mary White School of Art. During his studies at The Faculty of Architecture he was fortunate to be taught by Lloyd Rees, Roland Wakelin. He also enrolled in Lyndon Dadswell’s sculpture class at the National Art School. On graduation he worked at Clarke Gazzard and Partners, before working abroad, first in Rome and than in London. On returning to Sydney he started his own architectural practice Julius Bokor Architect Pty. Ltd. In the late 1970s he purchased a warehouse in Mary Place, Paddington which became an open access exhibition space. In 2002 he initiated an annual exhibition for young artists, the Mary Place Exhibition. In 2009 Julius Bokor combined his practice with his daughter Marianne Bokor The Mary Place Gallery closed in 2015,
Architect, artist, interior designer and gallery director, Julius Bokor, the son of Ethel and Emery Bokor, was born in 1943 in Budapest, Hungary. Bokor spent his early childhood in Hungary before immigrating to Australia with his family in 1957 at the age of fourteen. Spending the remainder of his teenage years in Sydney, Bokor knew from this early age that he wanted to be an architect. Attending the University of Sydney (1962-66), Bokor studied architecture and it was during this time that he developed skills in technical drawing and the fine arts including painting, sculpture and life drawing, Lloyd Rees being one of his teachers. In addition to the influential tutoring of Rees – to whom many architects of this era credit their interest in the fine arts – Bokor found inspiration in the teachings of Guy Warren and Roland Wakelin. The latter of these mentors gave him a keen eye for landscape and more specifically cityscapes – a theme that would later be favoured in his own artwork.
Working primarily in the disciplines of painting and drawing, Bokor explored most traditional media but preferred using oil paints. While his university studies exposed him to the fundamentals of the traditional art world, Bokor took a keen interest in Sydney’s emerging cultural scene of the 1960s. He attended various sketch clubs, including that of Jos Holloway, took classes in painting and drawing with John Olsen and Robert Klippel, and studied sculpture with Lyndon Dadswell.
While Bokor’s painting aspirations flourished during his years at the University of Sydney, on graduation in 1966 he focused on architecture. He travelled extensively within Australia and later through Europe, where he worked in numerous architectural firms in Rome and London. Following his vacation in Europe, Bokor returned to Sydney and in 1974, after the birth of his children (1971 and 1973), he established the architectural firm Julius Bokor Architect Pty Ltd. Completing a wide variety of projects, Bokor further expanded the practice in 1986 with the establishment of 'Designed Interiors’ as a complementary business to the architecture firm.
As was the case in his University years, Bokor paralleled his architectural ventures with a keen interest in the art world. While his enthusiasm did not result in a career practising art, this interest culminated in the purchase of a warehouse building in Paddington in the late 1970s and the subsequent opening of Mary Place Gallery in January 1980.
The gallery had humble beginnings as a flexible exhibition space for hire, and Bokor soon renovated the warehouse with the hope that it would become a significant gallery in Sydney’s contemporary art scene. Over the next few years, Bokor travelled to Melbourne, Brisbane and parts of regional Australia, forming relationships with similarly minded gallery curators. This groundwork on Bokor’s behalf helped to create a greater dialogue between the varying art communities throughout Australia and resulted in a series of professionally curated exhibitions at the Mary Place Gallery.
In later years Bokor became more involved in the curatorial aspects of the gallery and in 2002 he initiated the Mary Place Gallery Exhibition. Envisioned as a promotional event for emerging artists, the exhibition became an annual event and has launched the careers of numerous young artists including Ben Quilty and Lucy Hennessy, among others. Bokor opened the doors of Mary Place to those artists requiring a fresh audience with whom they could launch or re-launch their career. Artists who have used the gallery include Ildiko Kovacs, Roy Jackson and Bokor’s own son, John Bokor.
While Julius has avoided specialisation in the artwork exhibited at the Mary Place Gallery, Aboriginal artists and Indigenous art forms have become a recurring feature in the gallery’s repertoire. Among exhibited artists are the like of Emily Kame Kngwarreye and Kathleen Petyarre.
While the promotion and support of emerging artists has been Julius Bokor’s primary and most influential connection to the Australian art community, he privately continued his own art practice throughout his various professional endeavours. Bokor exhibited his own works for the first time at the Mary Place Gallery as part of the 'In the Soul of the Architect’ exhibition in 2005.
In 2009 Bokor was still pursuing a multi-disciplinary career as an architect, interior architect, and director of Mary Place Gallery.
De Lorenzo, Dr Catherine
Note: Meyer, Jessica