Sunday, 9 August 2009

Hungarian Venus: By the Waterside by Molnár Pál

From Hungary we bring you this luscious blonde in "By the Waterside" by Molnár Pál (1894-1981). Hungarians, of course, present their surnames first so it is Mr Molnár who was born in Battonya in 1894. He began his studies at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts in 1915. Later he travelled to Switzerland before spending some time in Paris from 1921 until 1922.

He returned to Hungary the following year and concentrated on illustrations and graphic works; particularly woodcuts. In the late twenties he spent three years in Rome. During the thirties his work as a painter came to the fore. Much of his work had a religious theme and he had many commissions from the Church between the mid thirties and 1970.

He published several technical books and his autobiography was published in 1994, thirteen years after his death. His apartment in Budapest is now a museum.

Nude by the Window

Nudes at the lakeshore 1926

Given his religious paintings the sensuality of his nudes is, perhaps, something of a surprise. he tried many different styles during his long lifetime from the sub-Modigliani of Nudes at the lakeshore to the Degas-like Female nude with blue hair ribbon.

Female nude with blue hair ribbon


Finding accurate titles and dates for his pictures, many of which are in private hands, is not easy so it is hard to trace the evolution of his style. Agent Triple P, of course enjoys the series of blonde rear views of which the above two, together with our title piece, are fine examples. The particularly prominent dimples on the backs of the subject in these three paintings lead us to believe that they are of the same model.
Our final Molnár (for which we do have a title: Nude in front of a mirror) is notable for the accurate depiction of the model's lower anatomy. Such a glimpse of what the Italians would call La fica is unusual in fine art.

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