Although Scheiber Hugó was a very versatile artist – he painted wonderful landscapes, small town views, boat scenes and an amazing number of ironic, sensible, funny self portraits – his name is almost exclusively associated with his paintings of the cosmopolitan life and society scenes of the decadent 1920s, the art deco era of cafés, theaters, cabaret and circus. His style, his gouache and oil paintings with their vivid colors and sturdily abstracted forms are easily recognizable and make his work popular even today.
He was born in 1873 in Budapest, his father was a set painter who taught his son drawing and painting from his early years. Later he attended the Academy of Decorative Arts, but he’s never finished his studies, he was mostly an autodidact.
Developing his own modernist style he was influenced by art movements like the German Expressionism and artist friends like Italian futurist Filippo Tommaso Marinetti. In the contemporary Hungarian art society he never really got a recognition: he was too modern for the conservative art collectors and didn’t fit into the circle of artists and collectors of the Gresham Group (opinion leader art group of the era in Budapest, with weekly gatherings at the iconic Gresham Café) either.
His first real success was a group exhibition (with his friend Kádár Béla) held in Vienna in 1921, where he also met Herwath Walden, founder and editor of the Berliner art periodical Der Sturm, who became interested in Scheiber’s work and supported his career. Scheiber moved to Berlin and had several exhibitions there, in London, New York and Rome.
With the rise of Nazism in Germany Scheiber moved back to Budapest in the mid 1930s. Eventually he had some success in the Hungarian art society as well, he had relatively well-accepted exhibitions at the Ernst Museum, the National Saloon and the Tamás Gallery – but then WW II. came. Scheiber died in poverty and obscurity in 1950.
His paintings – digitally cleaned and colors restored – are available as print in my store.