Born in Budapest, Hungary, Bela Czobel (1883 – 1976) was regarded as one of the finest 20th Century Hungarian artists. Studying in Munich, and then in Paris, his style would adopt the techniques of fauvism: a descendant of impressionism with strong color preference overriding realistic values, where the subject matter is typically abstract, yet simple. Czobel, for instance, was known for cityscapes, graphic arts, interior, as well as portrait painting.
Translated from the French, fauvism means “the wild beasts.” Gustave Moreau, the pack leader, was a controversial art teacher in Paris. Henri Matisse, a student of his, would say of le professeur, “He did not set us on the right roads, but off the roads. He disturbed our complacency.” With Fauvism the mode of color was elevated, and made more prominent than shapes and forms, almost sentient. A greater significance was also placed on individual expression than on academic theory; a fact that made it difficult to teach, and thus, shortened it’s lifespan to almost a decade, from 1899 to 1908. Fauvism did, however, pave the way for cubism and expressionism.
The painting came in very brittle and dry. We re-lined it with airplane linen, and deep cleaned it. A Spanish ear carved frame in 22 karat gold was custom built, and the portrait placed in with an archival fit.