In Willy Pogany’s dazzling oil on board illustration painting, an Art Nouveau maiden finds herself in the summer foliage conversing with a little bird. This whimsical scene was created for and used as the front cover of Metropolitan Magazine, July 1916. This artwork marks the best period in Pogany’s prolific and well remembered long and successful career. A stylized Belle Epoque, tightly rendered work that features a vibrant color palette and intricate use of the free-flowing forms that came to define the Art Nouveau aesthetic.
Born in Szeged, Hungary, he became one of the better known and successful illustrators of the Golden Age of Illustration, completing over 100 books. Among them are A Treasury of Verse for Little Children, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. He is probably best known for pen and ink drawings of mythology subjects geared towards children. He later did covers for “The Metropolitan Magazine” and worked for his friend William Randolph Hearst’s “American Weekly.”He studied at Budapest Technical University and attended art schools in Munich and Paris before moving to London at age 23. In 1907, he began illustrating children’s books and did a series of annual gift books, special deluxe editions.He was not a British citizen, and soon after World War I began, he emigrated with his family to New York City and became a permanent resident there. He continued illustrating books and also designed scenery and costumes for the Metropolitan Opera House and mural decorations for public and private residences including that of William Randolph Hearst. For a period he lived in Hollywood and did celebrity portraits and set designs before returning to New York where he died on July 30, 1955.