Artists Illustrating Boys' Fashions: Philip de László (Hungarian/English 1869-1937)



Figure 1.--Philip de László painted the rich and famous of the Edwardinan and Inter-War era, mostly Europeans. He did several portraits of the British royals, including Princess Elizabeth and the Queen Mother. He also painted a few Americans, most prominently President Theodore Roosevelt. His portraits are very well done realistic portraits. We think one of his best portaits, however, is the portrait here of his second son, Stephen in 1912. It is a little less realistic than his formal commissions, but we think really captures the boy's spirit. The portrait of Princess Elizabeth does not begin to do this. Click on the imgage and see what you think.

Philip Alexius de László was born in Budapest (1869). His work, however, provides few insights into his native Hungary. He should not be confussed with László Moholy-Nagy, a moderist artist whose work also provided no insights into Hungary. Philip de László was a portratist who mostly painted wealthy royal and aristocratic personages. László was born into a humble Jewish family as Fülöp Laub. His parents were Adolf and Johanna Laub, a tailor and seamstress. Fülöp and his younger brother Marczi changed their surname to László which desguised their Jewish origins (1891). He was apprenticed at an early age to a photographer as his parents could not afford further studies beyond primary school. He wanted to study art and as a result of his talent entered the National Academy of Art. He moved to England and remained based in London for the rest of his life (1907). He married Lucy Guinness of Stillorgan, County Dublin, and became a British subject (1914). Even so, as he was born in Hungary, he was interned as an eneny alien during World War I. His work has no noticeable national orientation as travelling throughout Europe to complete his many commissions. Being bsed in Londion, many of his portraits are British. He was extrodinarily prolific artist--over 4,000 works if you count the drawings. They amount to an extrodinary record of the rich and famous. There are several portraits of children, most are of his five sons. He seems to have used them as a diversioin and to experiment with different styles. The porttrait here is of Stephen, his second son painted at the breakfast table in 1912. There are also several portraits of children from wealthy families done as commissions. And there is a portrait of who László called a 'Nubian servant boy', but was not really a Nubian. We are not sure if he actually visited Egypt or the boy was employed in Britain.

Hungarian Origins

Philip Alexius de László was born in Budapest (1869). His work, however, provides few insights into his native Hungary. He should not be confussed with László Moholy-Nagy, a moderist artist whose work also provided no insights into Hungary. Philip de László was a portratist who mostly painted wealthy royal and aristocratic personages. László was born into a humble Jewish family as Fülöp Laub. His parents were Adolf and Johanna Laub, a tailor and seamstress. Fülöp and his younger brother Marczi changed their surname to László which desguised their Jewish origins (1891). He was apprenticed at an early age to a photographer as his parents could not afford further studies beyond primary school. He wanted to study art and as a result of his talent entered the National Academy of Art. He studied under Bertalan Székely and Károly Lotz. He pursued studies in Munich and Paris. László's portrait of Pope Leo XIII earned him a Grand Gold Medal at the Paris International Exhibition (1900). He moved to Vienna, at the time like Budapest also part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1903).

Family

László married Lucy Guinness of Stillorgan, County Dublin (1900). She was a member of the banking branch of the Guinness family and a sister of Henry Guinness. They first met in Munich (1892), but for some years had were forbidden to see each other by the Guinness, presumably because of László's Jewish origins. The couple finally married, porobanly because László was becoming successful. It proved a sucessful marriage. They had six children and eventually 17 grandchildren. We do not know of any family portrait with all the kids. There is a self portrait with Lucy and we think their eldest son, Henry. And by the the time the grandkids arrived, László was slowing down. He did not paint them like he did his sons. László became a British subject (1914). They had six sons raised as British biys. László painted them extensively. Other than the many portraits, however, we know virtually nothing about the boys.

London Base

László moved to England and remained based in London for the rest of his life (1907). Even so, as he was born in Hungary, he was interned as an enemy alien during World War I. His work has no noticeable national orientation as travelling throughout Europe to complete his many commissions he painted people from many different countries. Other than America, Britain was the richest country in the world. Working from Londion thus gave him access to a very rich clentelle. And the rich and famous sought him out, including members of the Royal family. While many of his portraits are British, he traveled wudely to complete commissions ion the Continent and in America.

Body of Work

Being based in Londion, many of László's portraits are British. He was extrodinarily prolific artist--over 4,000 works if you count the drawings. They amount to an extrodinary record of the rich and famous. He is commonly classified as a society portrait painter, but his portraits include many industrialists, scientists, politicians and painters, men and women of letters and many other eminent individuals. There are several portraits of children, most are of his five sons. He seems to have used them as a diversioin and to experiment with different styles. The porttrait here is of Stephen, his second son painted at the breakfast table in 1912. There are also several portraits of children from wealthy families done as commissions. These society children re not his best works. And there is a portrait of who László called a 'Nubian servant boy', but was not really a Nubian. We are not sure if he actually visited Egypt or the boy was employed in Britain.

Recognition

László was one of the most highly regarded portratists of the early-20th century. This is clear because we see so many nitable people seeling him out for portraits. He also received many awards. King Edward VII invested him MVO (1909). While moving to Britain, László never cut his tioes to his native Hungsry. He was ennobled by Emperor Franz Joseph of Hungary; his surname then became "László de Lombos", but he soon was using the name "de László" (1912).






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Created: 11:26 PM 10/12/2018
Last updated: 4:56 AM 10/14/2018