Friday, April 24, 2015

Sandor Bihari

Before the Magistrate (In Front of the Judge)
oil on canvas
111.2 x 167 cm
Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest, Hungary

Sandor Bihari (1855-1906) was one of the greatest Hungarian genre painters. Born to a Jewish family, he spent his childhood in Nagyvarad. Originally, he worked with his father as a decorative painter.

After studying in Vienna and travelling in Paris, he scored the first big success of his life in 1866. The painting "In Front of the Judge" won the grand prize of the Hungarian National Fine Art Society and was purchased by Emperor Franz Joseph. In Paris, he studied at the Academie Julian and improved his technique by copying the Old Masters at the Louvre.

Upon returning to Hungary, he settled in Szolnok, a popular artist Colony at the Great Hungarian Plains. Later in his life, his style changed in the direction of plein-air painting. He continued to travel, making lengthy visits to Italy especially, until his health began to fail in 1893. During his final years, he lived in Budapest but continued to spend his summers in Szolnok. In 1896, he was awarded the Order of Franz Joseph.