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paintings and art-collection blog

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Willy Pogany (Hungarian-born American Illustrator, 1882-1955)


Willy Pogany was born in August 1882 in Szged, Hungary. He attended Budapest Technical School for less than a year and took an art class for only six weeks. He went on to develop his art skills himself as he traveled. He sold his first painting to a wealthy patron for twenty-four dollars. He lived in Munich for a short time and added German to the other five languages that he fluently spoke. He moved to Paris from 1901-1904 where his character sketches for Le Rire became well known. He became friendly with Bernard Shaw, Herbert Morrison and others. From 1904-1914 Pogany lived in London. He worked for several illustrators including Fischer, Unwin and Hutchinson. In 1908 George Harrap published Thomas Crowells A Treasury of Verse for Children which contained Poganys illustrations and was sold to the American market. He continued his commissions for Harrap with illustrations in The Rubiayat in 1909, Folk Tales from many Lands and The Ancient Mariner in 1910, Tannhauser and Parsifal in 1912 and Longerin in 1913. Over eighty volumes of his work were published during his stay in London. He won gold medals at the Budapest Expo, Leipzig Expo, the London Masonic Medal and finally became a Fellow in the London Royal Society of Art.In 1914, Willy Pogany moved to New York City to expand his artistic talents. His illustrations began to appear on the covers of Metropolitan Magazine, Ladies Home Journal, Harpers Weekly, Hearsts Town and Country, Theatre Magazine and American Weekly. In 1917-1921, he worked for the Metropolitan Opera designing sketches, scenery and costumes.

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Illustrations by Willy Pogany for the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

And do you think that unto such as you 
A maggot-minded, starved, fanatic crew 
God gave the secret, and denied it me? 
Well, well-what matters it? Believe that, too!


Whether at Naishapur or Babylon,
Whether the Cup with sweet or bitter run,
The Wine of Life keeps oozing drop by drop,
The Leaves of Life keep falling one by one.


And not a drop that from our Cups we throw
For Earth to drink of, but may steal below
To quench the fire of Anguish in some Eye
There hidden--far beneath, and long ago.



And fear not lest Existence closing your
Account, and mine, should know the like no more;
The Eternal Saki from that Bowl has pour'd
Millions of Bubbles like us, and will pour.


Would you that spangle of Existence spend
About THE SECRET-quick about it, Friend!
A Hair perhaps divides the False from True-
And upon what, prithee, may life depend?



Of threats of Hell and Hopes of Paradise!
One thing at least is certain--This Life flies;
One thing is certain and the rest is Lies;
The Flower that once has blown for ever dies.



Yet Ah, that Spring should vanish with the Rose!
That Youth's sweet-scented manuscript should close!
The Nightingale that in the branches sang,
Ah whence, and whither flown again, who knows!


Would but some winged Angel ere too late
Arrest the yet unfolded Roll of Fate,
And make the stern Recorder otherwise
Enregister, or quite obliterate!



Ah Love! could you and I with Him conspire
To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire,
Would not we shatter it to bits-and then
Re-mold it nearer to the Heart's Desire!


Would but the Desert of the Fountain yield
One glimpse--if dimly, yet indeed, reveal'd,
To which the fainting Traveler might spring,
As springs the trampled herbage of the field!



Strange, is it not? that of the myriads who
Before us pass'd the door of Darkness through,
Not one returns to tell us of the Road,
Which to discover we must travel too.



Now the New Year reviving old Desires,
The thoughtful Soul to Solitude retires,
Where the WHITE HAND OF MOSES on the Bough
Puts out, and Jesus from the Ground suspires.

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