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)
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.