Philip de László

Philip de László
Born Apr. 30, 1869, Budapest
Died Nov. 22, 1937, London
Nationality Hungarian
Field Painting
Works View Complete Works

Philip Alexius de László was Hungarian painter, best known for his portrait painting, who was born in 1869 in the capital, Budapest. His family was Jewish, and his original name was Laub Fülöp Elek. In 1891, the family changed names, probably to avoid anti-Semitism, and it was then that the artist acquired the name by which he is most commonly known.


De László developed an interest in art when he was very young. He became an apprentice to a photographer, but continued his art studies during this period. He was eventually accepted into the Hungarian National Academy of Art. When he graduated from the Academy, he spent further periods of study in Paris and Munich.

He won a gold medal award at the Paris International Exhibition in 1900 for his portrait of Pope Leo XIII. He went to live and work in Vienna for four portrait-of-a-lady-1920years before eventually moving to London in 1907 where lived until his death from a heart attack in 1936.


Lucy Madeleine Guinness, part of the famous brewing dynasty, became de László’s wife in 1900. They had become involved with each other after meeting in Munich when the artist was studying there. Lucy’s family disapproved of the relationship and forbade her from seeing de László. Despite this, the couple eventually married, and it is certain that her connections played a major part in getting commissions for her husband.


Even though de László lived in England in 1907 and had become a British citizen in 1914, the authorities interned him for a year during World War I between 1917 and 1918.


The artist was commissioned to paint portraits by numerous prominent members of the British royal family and other dignitaries and wealthy people throughout Europe. The artist frequently traveled to the European mainland to complete his commissions.

Among his subjects were the future British king, George VI, his wife Queen Elizabeth, and King Edward VII. He also painted King Alfonso XIII of Spain, Princess Nicholas of Greece, and Queen Marie of Romania and many other European royals.

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