István Nádler studied painting at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts from 1958 to 1963. Between 1963 and 1968, he was a member of the Zugló Circle. In 1964, he travelled in Western Europe on a Károlyi Foundation scholarship. In 1968, he joined the Iparterv Group. In 1970, he worked in Vence, France. In 1971/72, he won the bursary of the Folkwang Museum in Essen. In the 1970s, he also prepared spatial plastic works and sculpture models. He participated at the Győr Artists’ Colony (sculptural period, RÁBA Symposion, 1976–78). In 1986, he exhibited at the Venice Biennale with Imre Bak, Károly Kelemen, and Ákos Birkás. In the 1990s, he drew new inspiration from oriental philosophy. Besides foreign scholarships, he has won many Hungarian and international distinctions: 14th Festival of Painting, Cannes-sur-Mer, special prize of the jury (1982); 4th European Graphic Biennale, Baden-Baden, 1st Prize (1985); Munkácsy Prize (1986); Artist of Merit (1997); 1st Prize at the UNESCO Liberty 98 international flag competition (1998); Kossuth Prize (2001). He has been an ordinary member of the Széchenyi Academy of Literature and Art since 2005; he is a founding member of the Open Structures Art Society (OSAS, 2006).
István Nádler is one of the driving forces and outstanding representatives of the artistic tendencies emerging in the 1960s. His early works are lyric abstractions, which were followed by geometric abstract paintings and curved metal plate sculptures informed by the hardness and cool perfection of hard edge, based on structural principles reduced to elementary plastic relations. Nádler’s inherent sensitivity to colour and his emotionally personal expressivity steered him towards reflective and richly contrasted, sensual-meditative painting from the 1980s on.