Lot 88
  • 88

Prince Paul Troubetzkoy

30,000 - 50,000 GBP
37,500 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Prince Paul Troubetzkoy
  • Philip Alexius de László MVO ('László de Lombos')
  • signed and dated: Paul Troubetzkoy 1931 and stamped: A VALSUANI / CIRE / PERDUE
  • bronze, black patina
  • 34.2 by 35.5cm., 13½ by 14in.


Philip Alexius de László MVO (1869-1937), London, United Kingdom;
by family descent


London, P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., Sculpture by Prince Paul Troubetzkoy, December 1931, no. 10 (possibly)


G. Bernard Shaw, Sculpture by Prince Paul Troubetzkoy, exh. cat. P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London, 1931 (possibly);

P. de László, 1931 diary, 3 June entry, p. 158:

… He ask [sic] me to sit for him – I will do a sketch – He did during three hours a fine full length figure of me….

P. de László, 1931 diary, 7 June entry, p. 162:

… During this morning – painted a portrait sketch of Prince Troubetzkoy – in one sitting – one of my best I ever did – is a reciprocity for his little statuette he did of me – … 

Catalogue Note

Philip de László was one of the greatest society painters of the 20th century. Rivalled only by John Singer Sargent, his oeuvre charts the history of Europe from the Edwardian age to the interwar years through a series of captivating portrayals of leading figures in politics, culture and society. Hungarian by birth, de László trained in Budapest and Munich, rapidly gaining a reputation as a portraitist. He married Lucy Guinness in 1900 and settled in England in 1907. Recognised as member of the Royal Victorian Order by King Edward VII for personal service to the Monarch, his portraits of Vita Sackville West, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (then Duchess of York) and the present Queen as a child are amongst the most iconic paintings of the sitters ever produced.

Troubetzkoy's portrait of de László captures the emotional intensity of the brilliant, workaholic, court painter. The statuette appears to represent a mutual admiration between the two, as László himself produced a portrait of Troubetzkoy in the same year that it was conceived (see Piantoni, op. cit., p. 260, fig. XXIX). According to the painter's diary, this painting was given to the sculptor as a reciprocity for his little statuette he did of me (op. cit). The artists' meeting was almost certainly occasioned by George Bernard Shaw's invitation to Troubetzkoy to hold an exhibition at Colnaghi's in London in 1931 as de László's painted portrait of the sculptor was included in the catalogue (location unknown, for more information please consult the Philip de László Catalogue Raisonné online at https://www.delaszloarchivetrust.com/index.php?cid=galery&id=274), together with a cast of the present model (quite possibly this very bronze). In the foreword to the catalogue, Bernard Shaw described Troubetzkoy as 'one of the few geniuses of whom it is not only safe but necessary to speak in superlatives. He is the most astonishing sculptor of modern times' (op. cit.). The present, very rare, bronze comes directly from de László's family and exhibits a superb waxy impasto surface, which is only seen in the best casts of Troubetzkoy's work. The seated composition follows one of the sculptor's most successful formats, which was used for portraits of other leading artists, including Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida.

G. Piantoni and P. Venturoli, Paolo Troubetzkoy, exh. cat. Museo del Paesaggio Palazzo Viani Dugnani, Verbania Pallanza, Turin, 1990, pp. 259-260