he brilliant Hungarian artist, Philip Alexius de László, 1869-1937, was the successor (in 1907) to Sargent's portrait practice in London. In 1933 de László demonstrated his dashing technique in a series of photographs, while answering questions posed by the writer A.L. Baldry. The photos and text were published in 1934 by The Studio Publications of London, in volume six of their "How to Do It" series.

Miss Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies, 1933
By Philip de László
Oil on canvas, 43 x 30½ inches (100.2 x 77.5cm)

he one artist capable of challenging Sargent on his own terms, the Hungarian Philip de László, did not arrive in London until 1907, the very year in which Sargent officially retired as a portraitist. The question of succession was effortlessly settled. De László assumed Sargent's mantle as society's favorite painter without there ever having been a battle for the position. De László had been trained in Munich and Paris, and he brought a cosmopolitan suavity to the realism of Franz von Lenbach and Mihaly Munkacsy. The qualities of panache and painterly brilliance which patrons looked for in Sargent they found in the work of his successor. Both were painting people at the top end of the social scale and, in several instances, the same people. De László's portrait of the Duchess of Portland at fifty captures the same aura of beauty and high breeding that Sargent's portrait of her at forty had done a decade earlier. De László's portrait of the statesman George Curzon in his robes as Chancellor of Oxford University precedes Sargent's portrait of the same sitter in Garter robes by a year. Both pictures catch the blend of high intelligence, will-power and vanity that made Curzon one of the most formidable figures of the age. Other Sargent sitters portrayed by de László include A.J. Balfour, the Earl of Cromer, Randall Davidson (Archbishop of Canterbury), the Duke of Portland, Field Marshal Lord Roberts, Theodore Roosevelt, Sir Philip Sassoon and the Earl of Wemyss.

From: John Singer Sargent: The Later Portraits (Complete Paintings: Volume III) by Richard Ormond and Elaine Kilmurray, Yale University Press, New Haven and London. Copyright © 2003 by Yale University.

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For much more on Philip de László, go to The de László Archive Trust website at www.delaszloarchivetrust.com.

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