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Originally from Fiátfalva, the furniture-making and furniture-painting Sütő dynasty of Vargyas is one of the best known of the historic furniture making families in Székelyföld, Transylvania. From the end of the 16th century to the present day, 14 generations have handed down the craft of cabinet-making.

Judging by the works that survive, the most distinguished members of the family are:
  • József the 4th (born 1789)
  • István the second (born 1810)
  • János the second (born early 1800s)
  • Lajos the first (born 1847)
  • Béla the first (born 1895)
  • Béla the second (born 1919)
  • Levente Lehel (born 1954)
  • Gábor the second (born 1955)

Sütő Levente Lehel Professional Path

1966 Working as apprentice for my Grandfather Sütő Béla and my Father Sütő Béla. Jr.
1967 I took part in painting furniture foundation and in measuring the mirrors. What we call mirror, is an emphasized spot which is separate from the basic color.
1967 My first sells: I carved smaller items such as, carved washing weights, letter and jewelry boxes. I carved these items with clasp-knife and sold them to tourists visiting the parental house.
Starting 1968, I was allowed to help in the carving of wooden headboards which were orders received by my Father from Hungarians living in Udvarhelyszék, Hungary and Germany.
In August 1969, my Father and I travelled to Hungary. There we were able to sell smaller carved and painted items. This happened in Budapest at theNagy Ignác Street Unitarian Church. From the money we earned, we bought tools.
1970 I helped my Grandfather in finishing the upper circle and ceiling panels of the Kökös (Háromszék) Unitarian Church. Still here, together with my grandfather we have designed and carved the oak pulpit crown.
1971 The inauguration of the Kökös Unitarian Church furnishing took place. Other smaller orders: middle sized boxes, headboards and corner chests.
After the appearance of Dr. Kós Károly’s “The Painted Furniture of Vargyas,” I have completed several individual orders. Church orders continued coming in as well: The Lords Table of the Reformed Church at Hévíz (Brassó County) and the furnishing of the Church at Dálya.
As an effect of the Kós book, more and more Hungarian intellectuals, such as teachers, priests, and the like took up contact with me. This is how the furniture made by me got to places like Marosvásárhely, Arad, Brassó and even abroad.
1973 We have placed a big, bounded Szekler gate in front of the Parental House (nr. 443) in Vargyas.
1976-1980  Made the furnishing of the Unitarian Church in Brassó: coffers, money-boxes, Lord’s Table.
1980-1984  Incoming order from Vargyas. Mrs. Máthe Ida Boldizsár wanted to furnish the antechamber of their newly built house with cherry base color, tulip-decorated furniture. I made this myself.
1984 Confirming youth of the Héjjasfalva Reformed Church, called me upon painting 8 upper circle coffers which, they have given as a present to their parish.
At the end of July 1984, I have moved to Hungary.
In 1985 I have made the Gate of the Mór State Farm.
1986 Coppenhagen; Larsbörnstreade 9. – Order of Gábor Fabricius for furnishing a Hungarian Restaurant with painted furniture.
1984-1990  Private orders: dining room furniture, painted hope chests, cradles, corner cupboards. I have also made the complete furnishing (tables, benches, corner cupboards, chairs) of a winery in Mór.
1990 Japan, Nagano County, Likungo – I have worked on the restoration and rehabilitation of a 200 year old Samurai house. In Kamakura, I have painted three big wooden boxes. I have also painted boxes and sign-board in Tokyo.
1992 Japan – Timberwork of garden build-ups, restoration of old gates and doors.
1992-2000  Furniture made according to the following base colors: Szekler blue, Church blue, Cherry red and Green. In this period, for about 10 years, I have been working mainly for French people residing in Hungary.
2001 September 11. I have furnished the dining room of the Hungarian Embassy in Berlin. Other painted and carved furniture.
2005 Exposition at the House of Traditions.
2005 Ceiling cassettes in the room of a politician.
2006 Dining Room of a private person.
2007 Still in process – Székelyudvarhely – Szekler Corner with painted furniture at Gizi’s Inn.
2007 March 25th. Exhibition at the American School in Nagykovácsi.
2008 Exhibitions at the Hungarian Folk Museum and the Budavár Castle during the Hungarian National Holidays.
2009 Exhibitions, other works.
2010 Handed over a flower-painted box with inscription to the Dalai Lama the Fourteenth as the appreciation of the Hungarian Nation during His Highness’s Reception at the Parliament of Hungary.
2011 In August 2011, I have received the “Master of Folk Art” National Award.
2011 November-January – I have participated in the Winterland Winter Fair in Hasselt, Belgium where, I have presented our craft and demonstrated to visitors how our works are made.
2012 January – I have won the application to the Santa Fé International Folk Art Market that will be held July 13-15, 2012 in New Mexico.
2012 February – I have received an invitation to South Korea.

In my works I use the special techniques and paint recipes that survived for hundreds of years in my family. I make the carpentry, wolf-teeth and scarf-joints by hand. For surface treatment as adhesive, I use the pounce when blending the paint and the cheese-curd glue is also homemade (3 parts light cheese-curd, 1 part white lime). The resin, with which I treat the painted surface, is also made by myself.

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