Gustave Miklos c.1919
30 June 1888
|Died||5 March 1967
|Known for||Sculptor, painter, illustrator, designer|
|Movement||Cubism, Art Deco|
Gustave Miklos, also written Gusztáv Miklós and Miklós Gusztáv (Budapest, 30 June 1888 – Oyonnax, 5 March 1967) was a sculptor, painter, illustrator and designer of Hungarian origin. An influential sculptor involved with Cubism and subsequent developments in Art Deco, Miklos exhibited at the Salon d'Automne and the Salon des Indépendants during the 1910s and 1920s, and in 1925 showed at the International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts; the exhibition from which the term "Art Deco" was derived. He became a naturalized French citizen in 1922, and a member of The French Union of Modern Artists (UAM) in 1930. In addition to his painting and sculptural output, Miklos illustrated over thirty books, designed about 200 bookbindings, numerous posters as well as furniture designs.
Gustave Miklos was the second of four children. At age seven his teachers successfully detected explicit signs of his emerging talent, and persuaded his parents to educate their children further. From 1904 to 1906 Miklos studied under László Kimnach (1857–1906) at the Hungarian Royal National School of Arts and Crafts, where he met Joseph Csaky. A musician and music lover, he played the violin and harp. He traveled to Paris in 1909, shortly after Csaky, and settled at La Ruche in Montparnasse. Shortly thereafter Miklos exhibited at the Salon d'Automne and the Salon des Indépendants. There he formed close associations with Csaky, Archipenko and Léger, artists at the forefront of the Parisian avant-garde. In Paris he was exposed to the works of French modernists Paul Cézanne, Georges Seurat, Paul Gauguin, and probably Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso.
Eager to learn about the new school of Cubism, Miklos frequented the Académie de La Palette, studying under Henri Le Fauconnier, and later entering the studio of Jean Metzinger. He visited the group of artists, poets and writers of the Section d'Or. Shortly after the Armory Show in New York, Miklos participated in the Exhibition of Cubist and Futurist Pictures, Boggs & Buhl Department Store, Pittsburgh, July 1913. The exhibition included works by Jean Metzinger, Albert Gleizes, Jacques Villon, Fernand Léger]], Pierre Dumont (painter) and Arpad Kesmarky. Sponsored by the Gimbel Brothers department store, the Cubist and Futurist show toured Milwaukee, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and New York from May through the summer of 1913. Walter Pach, knowing practically all the artists in the exhibition, probably had something to do with the organization of the show.
The following year he exhibited three paintings with the Cubists at the Salon des Indépendants in Paris. Late July 1914 he participated with Ricciotto Canudo, Joseph Csaky, Blaise Cendrars, Jean Lambert-Rucki, on a call for foreign artists to engage in the military of the side of the French. Under the pseudonym of "Rameau", Miklos is mobilized with the Armée française d'Orient, along with his friend Jean Rucki, who adopted the nickname "Lambert". During the World War I, he was posted at Bizerte, Tunisia and Salonika, Greece. There he discovered an intense color palette and ornamental richness previously unknown to him that would affect all his artistic endeavors. He was assigned with Lambert-Rucki to aerial reconnaissance missions and subsequently to the Archeological Service at the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, Greece, where both Miklos and Lambert-Rucki conducted excavations. The artists Paul Jouve and Jean Goulden were also stationed in Salonika.
During the war Miklos drew in his sketchbook and painted watercolors. In February 1919 he exhibited at the Exposition des artistes d'Orient, Athens. He returned to Paris in the fall of 1919. His attic studio at Rue Saint-Jacques, Paris, was flooded by rain and many of his paintings were damaged.
In Paris Miklos became more closely allied with the artistic avant-garde, developing a wide range of interests and technical skills, including time spent in the lacquer workshop Ateliers Brugier, and then in Jean Dunand's studio where he practiced metal-beating and developed an interest in enamelling and rock-crystals. He dedicated himself to sculpture during the following years, developing a purist style whereby his concepts were able to 'preserve an element of mystery that insistently draws us back, to inquire and to reflect'. In the casting of his bronzes Miklos maintained meticulous supervision and physical involvement, often personally ensuring a perfection of patina, sensitive to the interplay of different sources of light that reflected off his highly polished surfaces.
In 1921, on the initiative of the French art dealer Léonce Rosenberg, three public auctions were held over the course of two days. Many Cubist works were sold. Five works by Miklos were presented on Wednesday 19 October 1921 at the last public auction with 233 works in Amsterdam, entitled Oeuvres de l'école française moderne. Collection réunie par L'Effort Moderne (Leonce Rosenberg), Paris, L'Hotel de Ventes de Roos (sous la direction de A. Mak), Amsterdam, 1921. Also in the catalog of this auction were eight plates inserted with black and white images in a separate folder.
In 1923 Miklos exhibited in a group show at the Léonce Rosenberg's Galerie de L'Effort Moderne.
In 1927 Miklos collaborated with other artists, including Joseph Csaky, Jacques Lipchitz and Louis Marcoussis, on the decoration of Studio House, rue Saint-James, Neuilly, owned by the French fashion designer Jacques Doucet. Doucet discovered his work at the Salon des Indépendants in 1920. Doucet was also an art collector of Post-Impressionist and Cubist paintings. He purchased Les Demoiselles d'Avignon directly from Picasso's studio.
- Készman József, Egy világraszóló magyar, Az art déco egyetemes nagykövete: Miklós Gusztáv (1888, Budapest–1967, Oyonnax), Artmagazin online, 2004
- Christiane Patkaï, Gustave Miklos: sa vie et son œuvre de sculpteur, mémoire de maitrise, Paris,1978
- Alastair Duncan, The Encyclopedia of Art Deco, Knickerbocker Press, Oct 1, 1998
- Christie's Lot notes
- Danuta Cichocka, Etienne Bastin, Christiane Patkaï, Jacques Renoux., Gustave Miklos. Un Grand œuvre caché. Livres, reliures, graphismes, vol. 1, Paris, Fata Libelli, 2013, ISBN 978-2-9544801-0-7
- Laurette E. McCarthy, Walter Pach (1883–1958). The Armory Show and the Untold Story of Modern Art in America, Penn State Press, 2011
- Fernand Léger: Exhibition, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Carolyn Lanchner, 1998
- Family Archives
- Gordon Campbell, The Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts, Volume 2, 2006
- Kubisme, Veiling 19 oktober 1921
- Kicsoda Miklós Gusztáv?, 2011
- The home of Jacques Doucet
- Danuta Cichocka, Etienne Bastin, Christiane Patkaï, Jacques Renoux, Gustave Miklos. Un Grand œuvre caché, Paris, Fata Libelli, 2013, ISBN 978-2-9544801-0-7
- Agence Photographique de la Réunion des musées nationaux et du Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées
- Joconde, Portail des collections des musées de France
- Romy Golan, Modernity and Nostalgia: Art and Politics in France Between the Wars, 1995