Hungarian Art Nouveau
Wagner's Trilogy (1911) and The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám (1930)
Born in Hungary in 1882, he came to America in 1915 via Paris then London, where he established himself as a premier illustrator of books. While in London, he crafted his quartet of masterpieces : Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1910) and Wagner's Tannhauser (1911), Parsifal (1912) and Lohengrin (1913). From ultra-soft pastel pencil drawings to superb watercolor paintings and stylish and stunning pen & ink, often with spot color added, Pogany never seemed to tire of flexing another artistic muscle to make these as impressive as any illustrated book of the day. Although he never reached these heights of intricacy again, he showed throughout his career that this stylistic variety was no fluke. My favorite aspects of all of his books are the pen and ink drawings. Don't get me wrong, I really like the paintings, but there's a fluidity and commanding presence demonstrated by his ink work, especially in these early masterpieces, that is striking.