42 original caricatures in vivid watercolor, ink, and pencil. Bilhei or Bilkei Papp, probably a. pseudonym.
42 original caricatures in vivid watercolor, ink, and pencil
42 original caricatures in vivid watercolor, ink, and pencil
42 original caricatures in vivid watercolor, ink, and pencil
42 original caricatures in vivid watercolor, ink, and pencil
42 original caricatures in vivid watercolor, ink, and pencil
42 original caricatures in vivid watercolor, ink, and pencil
42 original caricatures in vivid watercolor, ink, and pencil
42 original caricatures in vivid watercolor, ink, and pencil

42 original caricatures in vivid watercolor, ink, and pencil

Budapest, Hungary: the artist, 1933. An album of 42 brilliant caricatures on stiff white papers, rectos only; interleaved with textured glassine protective sheets. SIGNED by the artist on the final leaf. Bound in a black cloth folder with faded green satin cord, with tassels and beads. 29.5 x 21.2 cm. A few of the glassine sheets are creased, and one lacks a large corner. The subjects are the staff of a financial firm, Penzintezet Központ (PK). The artist has captured near photographic likenesses of the faces (all in left profile; the bodies are in miniature). More importantly, he, or quite possibly she, has seized upon foibles, fantasies, and quirks to turn a doubtless normal group of middle-class Hungarians—perhaps even a bit dull—into a troupe of comic actors. Some identifying names are written on the sheets in a different, much later hand (in ballpoint pen). Those spellings are used here, but in Western order. Margit Laszlauer must have been terror in the office, with dragons for arms and straight razors for the dragons' teeth. Her neighbor Maria, scarf flying, glides blissfully down a slope on skis outfitted with a small desk and a typewriter. Dessö Kovács becomes an organ-grinder holding off unhappy depositors. A stern, bemedalled man discomfits a Romanian peasant with the point of a long saber. A vigorous soccer player bombards PK with various agencies that need assistance. Istvan Mézey confers with a tramp while on a long trip by rail, coach, and horse. The suave Dr. Béla Veldy demolishes his opponent Dr. Ellentel with a smile and a miniature cannon. The office princess dangles suitors on a string, while a watchman stands guard with a blunderbuss as two thieves make off with a large cabinet. A strong case can be made that Jozsef Szemes, depicted as an architect in the highly sympathetic final portrait, was honored by this tour de force—perhaps as a retirement gift. Apparently, he was instrumental in developing peat lands at Lake Balaton, Europe's largest lake. Common, conventional themes throughout the album are the successes of PK, competition with other financial institutions, and commodities. The artist's identity remains unknown, despite extensive research. The common family name Papp appears after the given name, in contrast to normal Hungarian usage, which reverses then as do some Asian languages. "Bilhei" or "Bilkei "are not usual given names. Whoever did these drawings, the quality of the work speaks for itself. The artist could have been a street artist commissioned by someone in the bank, the kind of figure who slips through the cracks of history. The delicate handwriting on the final sheet strongly suggests a woman, but that is by no means decisive. Whoever it was knew these people intimately or had a very keen-witted source. Perhaps it was an inside job by an employee with a great flair for drawing. Whatever the true story, this museum-quality album is worthy of exhibition and further study. Darker areas at the lower part of the images are a function of the scanner. On a screen the scans may have a greenish or grayish tint, but the drawings are on white paper. Item #100783

Price: $10,000.00