I: Emile Lahner (1893 - 1980)


Emile Lahner lived to the age of eighty-seven without ever having achieved the renown or success obtained by many artists of his generation. To understand the nature of the man and his work therefore, it is important to ask why this was so. To be sure, Lahner was a prolific painter, producing perhaps as many as fourteen hundred oil paintings and numerous works on paper over a long career.[1] Now apparently lost are the majority of works dating from his formative years spent in his native Hungary, and much of his work during the Second World War. Lahner's art makes discreet references to most of the major modern movements of the twentieth century, but virtually none of it reveals significant dependence on any one artist or "ism." His work possesses instead a truly individual character in which a poetic exultation in nature blends naturally with the painter's own tendency toward synthesis and abstraction.


(1) The largest private collection of Lahner's works contains over 400 oil paintings. Based on the size of other Lahner collections, which does not include the many paintings dispersed to unknown buyers over the years, it is reasonable to estimate Lahner's output at around 1300-1400 canvasses.