Lot 67
  • 67

Mela Muter

30,000 - 50,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Mela Muter
  • Count Mihály Károlyi
  • signed Muter upper left
  • oil on canvas
  • 117 by 89cm., 46 by 35in.


Count Mihály Károlyi, the sitter (acquired from the artist); thence by descent to the present owners


Pittsburgh, Carnegie Institute; St. Louis, City Art Museum; Twenty-Eighth International Exhibition of Paintings, 1929, no. 206 (Pittsburgh); no. 69 (St. Louis)

Catalogue Note

Painted in 1928.

An opponent of the First World War, Count Mihály Ádám György Miklós Károlyi de Nagykároly (1875-1955) became leader of Hungary following the Aster Revolution of October 1918. Successively Prime Minister, and then President of the short-lived Hungarian Democratic Republic, Károlyi's leadership was rocked by the turbulent events arising from the punitive armistice terms following his country's defeat in the war, and economic instability following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. After the resignation of his Prime Minister Dénes Berinkey, Károlyi's position became untenable and in July 1919 he went into exile in France.

It was during Count Károlyi's exile that Mela Muter, a fellow Eastern European émigrée in France, painted the present work, a powerful and psychologically penetrating study with a monumentalism which had already characterised her work since before the First World War. Count Karolyi is dignified and relaxed as if in discussion. The background is purposefully simple, adding to Károlyi's commanding presence.