Lajos Markos

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Lajos Markos
Born 1917
Hungary Marosvasarhely, Hungary
Died 1993
United States Houston
Nationality Hungary Hungarian
Education Royal Academy of Budapest
Known for Portraits, Western(genre)s, Cityscapes

Lajos Markos (1917–1993) was a Hungarian American artist trained at the Royal Academy of Budapest. He came to the United States following World War II and worked as a portraitist in New York City, painting such celebrities as John Wayne and Robert Kennedy,President Ronald Reagan, The Royal Family of King Hassan II (only one known portrait of the king painted in July 1978,during a reception to honor the present, for his birthday )and Pablo Casals. In his lifetime, Lajos Markos completed over 2,000 portraits.[citation needed] In the 1960s, he moved to Houston, Texas, where he expanded his interest to art of the American west. Examples of his work are in the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, Texas State Capitol in Austin, TX, and the Zigler museum,other prominent museums and major private collections also own his work.JP Morgan has acquired number of his works housed today in the main CEO office building.His portraits are scarce. Jennings, LA.His fascination with the history of the settling of the western states and especially the history of Texas finally led him to Houston in 1971. He painted portraits of the 12 "Texas Immortals," which hang in the Texas Commerce Bank in Houston, the "Siege of the Alamo," which hangs in the Texas State Capital in Austin, and countless western paintings depicting the history of the cowboy era, which hang in private and corporate collections here and abroad. Paintings of Sam Houston, Robert E. Lee, and General George Patton are in private collections.


(NOTE TO EDITORS: The following paragraphs about a building and Jesse H. Jones at first seem unrelated to Lajos Markos. Whoever submitted the information may have been referring to background about either an exhibit or the portraits of the 12 "Texas Immortals" in the Texas Commerce Bank in Houston; however, this is unclear. Perhaps a transitional paragraph to explain the connection is needed at this location, or perhaps much of the following information belongs on a different page under a different title.)

In August 1929, Houston Philanthropist Jesse H. Jones published an editorial proclaiming that like Houston, the newly built, 36-floor Gulf Building was "essentially modern." Today the worn divots in the terrazzo floor of its lobby tell stories of generations of Houstonians who have come into the bank on business or to glean a peek at history.

For 30 years, the building held the notoriety of being the tallest in Houston. With its elaborate, four story lobby with gold-leafed detailing, the art deco building with gothic ornamentation was considered Jones' statement on modernization.

"When it was built, it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi," said David Bush, director of programming and information at the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance. "Jesse Jones was the driving force behind this building and his idea was that this building would put Houston on the map."

Even today, the JP Morgan Chase Building at Main and Travis is ensconced in grandiosity as it celebrates its 75th anniversary.

The building took a little more than year to build after being designed by famed architects Alfred Finn (San Jacinto Monument), Kenneth Franzheim (Foley's downtown) and J.E.R. Carpenter of New York. Polished nickel plating admonishes entryways, mailboxes, vaults and bank tables. The lobby was built to tell the public that the bank was stable and prosperous as deposits weren't insured in 1929.

An $80 million restoration of the building's exterior and interior in 1989 by then-owner Texas Commerce Bank ensured that history would live on. The more recent restoration of the terrazzo floor in the bank lobby has generated a second commendation from the nonprofit Greater Houston Preservation Alliance as JP Morgan Chase receives the 2004 Good Brick Award. The award commends the company for preservation, restoration and enhancement of Houston's architectural and cultural heritage.

As the last of Houston's historic banking halls, the building that was originally Jones National Bank of Commerce has been involved in mergers but has never forsaken its banking roots.

"The award has two purposes," Bush said. "It gives public acknowledgment of the extreme good care that they have given this building over the years. It's also a way for us to educate the public about preservation in Houston."

`Essentially Modern' In celebration of the building's rich heritage, the Essentially Modern Exhibit hosted through Jan. 30 in the building's Heritage Hall at 707 Travis from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, unveils relics from the past.

Sponsored by Houston Endowment, San Jacinto Museum of History and Story Sloane Gallery, the rare collection of photos and documents offers a personal glimpse into Houston's beginnings.

Curated by Steven L. Fenberg, community affairs coordinator for the Houston Endowment, a philanthropic organization developed by the Jones in 1937, the exhibit includes 12 original portraits of heroes of the Texas Revolution by artist Lajos Markos.

Fenberg also is the producer and writer of Brother, Can You Spare a Billion, an Emmy Award winning documentary about Jesse Jones, which is narrated by Walter Cronkite. Jones was a financier and publisher of the Houston Chronicle.

"The building is (the) pinnacle of Jones' building career," Fenberg said. "He built around 80-90 buildings through his career and of all, this was the building he was most proud of."

Jones had come to Houston in 1898 when there were 40,000 people here. Within 10 years, he had built the tallest buildings on Main Street, Fenberg relates.

Then came the opening of the international Houston Ship Channel, positioning the city as an international force.

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