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Details & Cataloguing

20th Century Art – A Different Perspective

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London

Adolf Fényes
1867-1945
HUNGARIAN
ORPHEUS CHARMING THE ANIMALS

Provenance

Estate of the artist
Private collection, Budapest (acquired from the artist's widow)
Acquired from the above by the present owner


Exhibited

Budapest, BÁV Aukciósház Apszisterme, Fényes Szolnok, 2015, illustrated in the catalogue

Catalogue Note

The present work and the following group of three paintings by Adolf Fényes come from the estate of the artist and showcase the talents of one of Hungarys’ most distinguished painters.

Fényes was the son of a rabbi, Simon Fischmann, and was expected to become a lawyer. It was whilst attending law school in Budapest that he decided to change the course of his destiny and enrolled at the Budapest Institute of Design as a student of Bertalan Székely between 1884-87. Subsequent studies in Weimar with Max Thedy and in Paris at the Académie Julian followed.

Under the tutelage of his mentors Fényes adopted a naturalist style and quickly emerged as one of the most significant painters of the Nagybánya school. Having returned to Hungary in 1894, Fenyes helped form the Szolnok artists colony in 1898. It was from this moment onwards that he turned to a more impressionistic style of painting and his palette lightened significantly. In 1905 Fényes had his first one-man show at the National Gallery in Budapest and his success as an artist was at its zenith.

By the late 1920s and early 1930s, the period during which the present works were executed, Fényes' artistic career became increasingly impeded by the harsh restrictions imposed on Jewish painters by the anti-semitic Horthy government, but he continued to paint regardless. Disillusioned by the horrors of the First World War, and struggling with the political regime of the day, Fényes' art increasingly depicted fairy-tale worlds with allusions to mythology, religion and history, or idealised, highly romanticised and poetic rural landscapes. In this context, the present works can be seen as a means by Fényes to create a sanctuary of the imagination to ease his anguish at the growing threat of violence from the outside world.

20th Century Art – A Different Perspective

|
London