Acquired from the artist by the father of the present owner; thence by descent
Vilmos Aba Novák was a gifted painter whose work was overall characterised by the masterly quality of his draughtsmanship and a sense of monumentality. He could depict crowds in a way which suggested the life and movement of a mass of people, and convey a character or type by means of a few vivid colours. Aba Novák chose themes from the everyday life of peasants, as in the present work, navvies, vagabonds and rascals, as well as scenes from the circus and village fairs in the Szolnok region and Transylvania. He instinctively sought a dynamic and powerful form of expression, and his tempera technique was thus to use broad strokes of the brush in sharply outlined blocks of colour as on a placard, which intensifies their graphic effect. The relatively small scale of the present work lends it a sense of intimacy which is reflective of the depicted scene.