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A Portrait by Philip de László

11th October 2019.

One of the outstanding lots to be included in the Autumn Fine Art Sale on 16th November is a portrait by the Hungarian-born artist Philip de László (1869-1937). The portrait of Lady Armatrude Waechter de Grimston (estimate: £6,000-8,000 plus buyer's premium) comes with provenance from the sitter's estate and is to be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of portraits by the artist currently being compiled by the Hon. Mrs de László.

One of the greatest portrait painters of the twentieth-century, Philip de László was born into a humble family in Budapest and started his artistic career by painting stage sets. He attended art school in Hungary at the age of fifteen. Following studies in Munich and the Académie Julian in Paris (1890-91) he began to win important commissions and in 1900 won a gold medal at the Paris Salon for his contemplative portrait of Pope Leo XIII.

In 1900 de László married into the Guinness family and in 1907 settled in London. The same year saw a hugely successful one man show of the artist's work at the Fine Art Society, London. In 1912 he was ennobled in Hungary and in 1914 he became a British citizen. In a dazzling career, de László painted Popes and Princesses, Cardinals and Plutocrats for which he was awarded medals and orders from across the world.

With his trademark elegance and bravura brushstrokes, this portrait of Lady Waechter de Grimston is to be included in the artist's catalogue raisonné.

Lady Waechter de Grimston (b.1890-?) was a patroness of the Arts and Crafts movement, a landowner in East Yorkshire and a notable beauty of the time. She was married to Sir Max Leonard Waechter (1837-1924), a businessman, philanthropist and High Sherriff of Surrey. Following the death of her mother in 1927 she inherited her family's estate Grimston Garth in East Yorkshire and assumed the name Waechter de Grimston.

When the painting was first finished it was longer, but Lady de Grimston did not like the way her hands had been painted, so had the painting cut to exclude them. It is likely that the signature was cut away during this process.

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