Saturday - 30 August 2014

Mysterious Maria

12 April 1999Written by ATG Reporter

UK: Maria Szantho (b. 1898-?) was a Hungarian artist who specialised in glamour girl nudes which crop up with some regularity in the salerooms, generally at prices between £500-3000.

Szantho has been a commercial mainstay of Christie’s South Kensington (15/10 per cent buyer’s premium) for some time now, but CSK were entering new financial territory on March 25 when this rather more unusual oil of a sleeping child and her dreams topped their British and Continental Pictures sale with a price of £14,000, which appears to be a record for the artist.

Despite being a relatively prolific painter, virtually nothing is known of Szantho’s life, making it difficult to date her work with any confidence. CSK’s expert-in-charge Joshua Darby thought this 2ft 3in by 3ft 23/4in (69 x 98cm) oil-on-board dated from the 1930s, which would mean its dwarf imagery could either be a prefiguration of or a response to Walt Disney’s 1938 classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

At any rate, the combination of a pretty young girl asleep and her picturesque dreams proved attractive to an American collector bidding on the telephone. The painting had been entered by a Continental vendor and, being on board, was in good condition.

Interestingly a Szantho nude was also included in this CSK sale, attracting a fairly standard £2400.

Antiques Trade Gazette is the weekly bible of the fine art and antiques industry. Read articles like this every week in the Antiques Trade Gazette or ATG app. Click here to subscribe today.

Written by

ATG Reporter

Back to top