** artists illustrating boys fashions: nationalities -- Hungary

Hungarian Artists Illustrating Boys' Fashions

Figure 1.--This portrait by Miklós Barabás is despribed as boys playing with a hopp by the water. It looksto us as a portrait of two brothers, but their names have apparently been lost. It is also undated, but we would guess was painted about 1850. They look to be about 5-8 years of age. They wear maroon tunics with lace collars and plaid trim, white pantalettes, white socks, and black shoes. They are not strap shoes, but seem to have lace ties. notice that the boy on the right has the same straw hat and bag as his younger brother, but the hat is on the ground and bag is on a bench. They were painted like this presumably to depict both the hat and the boys's short cropped hair. The idea of the portrait is children playing, but of course their outfit is not very practical play wear. This and being painted by a well established portraitst suggests the boys came from a well-to-do family, probably with a country estate. If you look by the tree you can see an imposing mannor home.

We know very little about Hungarian art. We do not know if we have somehow missed important Hungarian artists or if there are fewer Hungarian artists than many other European countries. A factor may be that Hungary is a relatively small country, but still it is a little surprising. The earliest paintings are works decorating medival churches. We first see paintings in Hungary associated with the ruling royal houses -- Luxemburg and Anjou. They depicted highly respecte earlier king Ladislaus I. King Sigismund of Luxemburg, King of Hungary and Holy Roman Emperor and Louis The Great, King of Hungary and Poland were buried in the cathedral of Nagyvárad at the side of King Ladislaus. These images decorated the Romanesque village churches. Frescoes especially on the north wall. Some 50 of these beautiful churches with murals depicting the Saint Ladislaus have survived wars, Islam, and Communism. The conquest by the Ottomans and control by the Hapsburds may be factors in the failure of Hungary to keep pase with other european artictic traditions. It is a little difficult defining nationality within the Austrian and subsequent Austro-Hungarian Empire. We have some limited information on individul Hungarian artists. Hopefully our readers will be able to provide some information on Hungarian art. WE only begin to see Hungarian artists in the 19thcentry. Here are the Hungarian artists we have found to date.

Miklós Barabás (1810-98)

Miklós Barabás was born in Kézdimárkosfalva, Transylvania, now part of Romania (1810). At the time it was part of the Austrian empire, but with claims by Romania. His parents were Hungarian. Barabás is rongly involved with the birth of 'romantic pictography' in Hungarian painting. As a result he is perhaps the most popular Hungarian artist of the 19th century. He enrolled at the Academy of Arts in Vienna (1829). He was a student of Johan Ender. Hungary as of course part of the Austrian Hapsburg domains. He was to later say that he learned more from observing nature and his association with other artists. He returned to Cluj, where he mastered lithography. In 1831 he spent two years in Bucharest (1831) where he dveloped a reputtion for portraits. Romania as the result of the Russian-Ottoman War (1828-29) had achieved its autonomy. Barabás moved to Bucharest where he began his career (1831). There he worked on both genre paintings and portraits. He trveled in Italy to study the great enaisance artits (1834–35). He painting several landscapes. He had worked in oils, but in Itly he started doing water colors as a result of an association with English painter W.L. Leitch. Barabás also developed skiils as a lithographer, at the time the only was to reproduce paintings in a printed form. He returned to Hungary and began aucessful career as a portrait painter. As his reputation grew, he received commissions from the reat figures of the Empire,

Gabriel Decker (1821-55)

Gabriel Decker is generlly seen as am Austrian artist, but he was born in Hungary. He was born in Budapest (1821). Hungary at the time was ruled by the Hapsburg Austrian monarchy. There was an extensive mixing of people within the Austrian-ruled lands. Many Austrians lived in Budapest. We hve been unable to find bibliographic information about Decker and his career. His name suggests that he wasan Austraian rather than a Hugarian. We do not know where he worked, Vienna, Budapest or elswhere in the Empire. As best we can tell he was a commercial portrait painter. The works we have found are all formal portraits, most of individuals. A few include children. As his work is very realistic the portraits provide a good record of clothing worn by well to do children in vienna and other cities in Austrian ruled areas.

Isidor Kaufmann (1853-1921)

We note an artist who began painting after a commercial career, Isidor Kaufmann. He is a little difficult to categorize in country terms. He painted while a subject of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He was born to Hungarian Jewish parents in Arad, now a part of Romania. He painted images of Jewish life and individuals, mostly in Poland. We do not see similar images from non-Jewish artist, although there was interst in Gypsey life.

Béla Kontuly (1904-83)

A reader mentions Béla Kontuly. We have found very little information about him. He was born in Miskolc, an industrial city in northern Hungary (1904). He spent most of his career in Budapest, both before and after the Communist takeover. We note portraits and a realist style (1930s-40). Later in his career we note more abstract works and fewer portraits, Perhaps in Communist Hungary there was no longer a market for personal portraits. He has been described as belonging to the School of Rome Novecento. Kontuly died in Budapest (1983). We note several portraits of children. They are done rather realistically. After World War II his style changed.

Philip de László (1869-1937)

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). 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). His work has no notceable national orientation as travelling throughout Europe to complete his many commissions. Being bsed in Londion, many of his portraits are British. We notice very few portraits of childre. Two are of his children. The other is a Scottish boy.

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946)

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy was born in Borsod to a Hungarian Jewish family. Hungary was than part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1895). He served in the Austro-Hungarian army during World War I. He was a suporter of Béla Kun's Hungarian Soviet Republic after World War I (1919). When it failed he moved to Vienna and then on to Germany (1920). He was an important Hungarian artist and also interested in photography. He is best described as a modernist. His art was abstract, and he was influencd by important movements in abstract art, including Dadaism, Suprematism, and Constructivism. Perhaps inevitably he was drawn to the famous Bauhaus in Dessau, Germany. Walter Gropius after World War I invited him to Bauhaus. The school's crucial preliminary course was given to him. He implemented more practical, experimental, and technological bent. He pursued many fields, from commercial design to theater set design, and also made films and worked as a magazine art director. Unlike many in the art world who were suspious of technology, he believed in integrating technology and industry into the arts. Once the NAZIs seized power in Germany as a Jew and foreigner, he could no longer work, not to mention the NAZI rejection of modernism in the arts. He moved to the Netherlands and than Britain and finlly to America (1937). Given his Commuist orienttion, itis interesting thst he did not seek refuge in the Siviet Unionm. His most important legacy was the Bauhaus vision he brought to the United States. He founded the influential Institute of Design in Chicago. He died in Chicago (1946).


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Created: 4:43 AM 4/25/2016
Last updated: 11:09 PM 10/12/2018