Lajos Vajda (Hungarian, 1908–1941) attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest where he met other politically progressive artists who thought of themselves as the equivalent to the French "Fauves," calling themselves the "Wild Ones." Causing an uproar with his group, Vajda was expelled from the Academy. In 1930, Vajda moved to Paris where he studied with Dezso Kornissand Fernand Léger and was introduced to Cubism and Surrealism. In 1940, Vajda was drafted to the Hungarian Labour Service, the required military substitution for Jewish men who were not permitted to serve in the regular armed forces. Vajda contracted pneumonia and died when he was just 33.
The artist is known for his barren, nightmarish landscape paintings inhabited by depictions of devilish birds, apocalyptic monsters, gnomes, and ghastly human forms. In 1943, two years after his death, an exhibition of Vajda's work was held at the Budapest Alkotás House of Art, but was interrupted by an air raid over the city.