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 Louis Jambor  (1884 - 1955)

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Lived/Active: New York / Hungary      Known for: genre, figure and still life painting, murals

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Lajos Jambor is primarily known as Louis Jambor

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Ad Code: 3
Louis Jambor
from Auction House Records.
The Picnic
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Clars Auction Gallery:
Hungarian-American painter Louis (Laj-os) Jambor was a prolific artist with a career marked by versatility in subject matter, technical exactitude, and generous humanism. Known for religious paintings, public murals and book illustrations, his work had been viewed by millions of people outside of the walls of museums. His work in portraiture, genre scenes, and still life is less well known, but equally as masterful and moving.

Born in Nagyvarad, Hungary in 1884, Jambor had artistic talents recognized early and the government provided him with a five year scholarship to attend the Royal Art Academy in Budapest. Upon graduating, he spent several years studying religious art in Italy and under Frank Gebhard in Dusseldorf, Germany. Jambor received many awards and accolades and was elected to the Royal Academy of the Society of Art before he moved to the United States in 1923.

Once in America, Jambor's career flourished. He painted dozens of murals in private homes, public buildings, and churches, including twenty-six for the Hotel New Yorker, large panels above the proscenium in the Atlantic City Municipal Auditorium, murals for St. Theresa's in Providence, Rhode Island, and in the Sister's of Mercy Chapel in Marion, Pennsylvania.

Jambor's technical aptitude and his ability to capture the essence of people led to many commissions for portraits. Some of his most famous subjects include Father Francis P Duffy of New York's 69th Regiment (for whom Duffy Square, just above Times Square in New York is named). Clarence Barbour, former president of Brown University, Lord Rothmere of London, and the canonized saint Mother Cabrini.

Generations of children have been delighted by Jambor's illustrations for the 1947 edition of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women as well as the 1949 version of her Jo's Boys. He also created fantastical backgrounds for the animated film version of Gulliver's Travels for which he received screen credit.

Jambor was an active member of various groups and societies for artists including the American Artists Professional League, Allied Artists of America and Audubon Artists. His leadership in these groups both furthered his professionalism as an artist and demonstrated his concern for fellow artists.

Jambor's religious subjects include Jesus of Nazareth most notably, but also the Lord's Supper. The Adoration and Down from Golgotha are highly reproduced and distributed by churches and other religious organizations.

Jambor's technique and execution demonstrate not only his long and diligent study of classical painting and Renaissance ideals, but also his exacting observation and caring and intimate sense of his subjects. Highly disciplined and technically talented, Jambor did genre paintings, which convincingly capture fleeting moments in time, and characters drawn together by space and experience.

Moonlight Travelers demonstrates Jambor's striking composition and use of light, as well as the dignity he imbues in all of his subjects. The travelers, weary and with all of their possessions in tow seem to be stepping into the unknown but also appear to be sheltered and guided by a larger force. The upper three quarters of the canvas is dedicated to a spectacular night sky, where the moon is hidden by clouds but ever present, its heavenly power bolstering the lamp light the travelers carry.

As opposed to the dramatic movement of Moonlight Travelers, Jambor's Cat's Cradle is a tender and intimate look at familial moment as a mother takes time away from knitting to lay with her young daughter as another looks on. Light illuminates the domestic interior, streaming through a window over a carefully placed bouquet and onto the young girl. She is innocent and full of wonder, her pink dress echoing the palette of the flowers. It is a lyrical vision of earlier times.

Jambor's expert draughtsmanship, flair for the dramatic, and sensitivity to the human condition lent itself to subjects both epic and intimate in scale. Whether painting narratives, portraits or still life his compositions carry the eye to the important details, and his unique lighting effects create an atmosphere that brings even the simplest of his subjects to a realm of grandeur.

by Rachel Goodenow

Biography from Zigler Museum:
A Hungarian who migrated to the United States in 1923 and became an American citizen six years later, Louis Jambor, a painter and illustrator, is best known for his religious wall decorations in churches, symbolic murals in private homes, and quasi-public buildings.

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