A haunting watercolor by renowned book illustrator Willy Pogany, signed lower left. Marked on verso “Doll House Hell,” this is a dark noir rendering of an evening on a boathouse. The pylons and trees are turning into monsters and even the sky appears to be weighing down on the lone boat. This watercolor, created for use as interior book illustration for an as-of-yet unidentified work, comes framed in a substantial ornate gesso frame. This was likely done as a New York City Theater production set design and possibly for “A Doll House” by Ibsen.
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 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 Hurst. 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.