The Lady Admires Her GoldfishThe Lady Admires Her Goldfish
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The Lady Admires Her Goldfish


 
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Artist: Emil Pap
Year: 1905 ca.
Technique: Oil on canvas
Signature: Signed lower right
Dimensions: 39 1/2 x 31 1/2 in (100 x 80 cm); stretched, not framed
Description: This is a large original oil painting by listed Hungarian master Emil Pap within his ‘Sitting Room Culture’ paintings. “The Lady Admires Her Goldfish” is a beautiful, rare and uniquely themed work, representing the only known version of this whimsical subject matter within Pap’s oeuvre. The painting's fanciful composition consists of a lovely young lady, standing in an ornamented, floor-length royal blue dress and crystal water pitcher in hand, smiling with evident admiration upon her highly-prized goldfish, which is serenely swimming in a bowl in front of her. Appearing to the Lady’s immediate left is the seated and well-endowed figure of an older female servant, in a revealing low-cut period gown and headdress, with her arm resting on the table and likewise gazing upon the goldfish, but with the considerably less enthusiastic look of ennui. The drawing room scene is completed with a gold-rimmed oval wall mirror reflecting a side view of the Lady’s face and dress, an empty patterned chair to her right side, and an ornamented floor rug under the table. It’s a compact, brilliant and witty scene of propriety, social class, respectability, elegance and the idle customs of the rich and influential in late 19th century Central Europe. The figures are finely drawn with masterful brush-strokes, utilizing mellow colors, soft light, an intimate atmosphere and pointed psychological depth. Its richness, balance, proportion, color scheme and mastery of brush stroke, are a uniquely outstanding representation of Pap’s society paintings with a distinct Art Nouveau flair. After Hungary’s half-century of cultural and political isolation, Pap’s masterful work is now re-emerging to the prominence it had achieved prior to the Cold War. His international stature is once again deservedly gaining in recognition by art historians and the market alike. Please note Pap’s highest known auction sale price was for “The Lute Player,” which sold in February of 2000 at Christie’s Winter Auction in London for $8,700.00. However, Pap’s 19th century ‘sitting room culture’ works have become exceedingly scarce and are now principally off the market, held in public or private collections. The work is over 100 years old, is in its pristine original condition, and has darkened somewhat. There are three very small, imperceptible repairs to background areas predating acquisition, which were expertly filled with glazing putty and in-painted.
Biography: Born in Szolnok, Hungary in 1884 and later moved to Budapest, where he studied at the Art Academy and later in Munich. He specialized in society portrait commissions but also painted a large number of genre scenes. His work is in the naturalistic style. He exhibited extensively in Budapest after 1905, and in 1921 there was a major retrospective of his oeuvre in the Mucsarnok (Budapest Art Hall). Though there is little known of his life, today he is recognized as one of the most important Hungarian-born painters of the 19th and 20th centuries. His work appears regularly at auction throughout Europe. The highest known auction sale price for a work by Pap is $8,7000 (4,370 BP) for a work entitled “The Lute Player,” which sold at Christie’s Kensington winter auction on 2/24/00.
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