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Portrait of Pál Szinyei Merse

Wilhelm Leibl1869

Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

In 1869 Gustave Courbet, who was staying in Munich, met and became a friend of Leibl. It was considerably due to the influence of Courbet, that Leibl, subsequently a leading figure of German realism, and Szinyei, studying in Munich at that time, turned away from Piloty at the Academy. In the following years Szinyei also became a member of the group of friends who met regularly in Leibl's studio in the Arcisstraße. Courbet's obvious influence is proved by this portrait from 1869 of the outstanding exponent of Hungarian plein-air painting. The portrait, painted with energetic brushstrokes and a reduced colour scheme, demonstrates the young Leibl's ability to capture the character.

Ferenc Tóth

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