AMERICO MAKK Chess Game Lg Oil HUNGARIAN-AMERICAN, C.1960




MID-CENTURY MODERN-Modernism

Price: 

$3,500
Specifications
Designer VerificationNone
Condition
Excellent
Reference
MPD-008091
Description

AMERICO MAKK
"CHECKMATE"
OIL ON CANVAS, SIGNED
HUNGARIAN-AMERICAN, C.1960
24 X 35 INCHES

BOOK INCLUDED

Americo Makk
1927-2015
From Wikipedia:
Americo Makk, last name pronounced "Mahk", was born Imre Makk in 1927 in a town in western Hungary once known as Gy?rszentmárton, and later renamed Pannonhalma.[1] His home stood in the shadow of the Pannonhalma Archabbey. Americo's father was financial supervisor to the Benedictine monks who resided in the Abbey and taught in the local school.[2] Americo began sketching at age 6. By the time he was 8, the Benedictine Brothers, with whom he studied, encouraged him further into art.[2] Americo was 12 when the communist Russian army first invaded Hungary.[2] At this time, his passion for painting became inexorable. His parents cautioned Americo that pursuing art as a vocation would lead to poverty, and that a career in architectural engineering was more suitable.[2] Americo's formal training as a painter began at the Hungarian National Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest from 1945 through 1948.[3] At the age of 21, he received a scholarship to Italy, and studied at the Academy of Fine Art in Rome beginning in 1948.[4]
As Hungary was effectively under the control of communism becoming a satellite state of the Soviet Union and administered by the Hungarian People's Republic, he had doubted the authorities would allow him to accept the scholarship in Rome.[5] Americo was reserved in conveying his memories of the communist takeover in interviews for fear of reprisals against family members still in Hungary, simply describing the period as "very unpleasant." [2][5] However, where his words could not describe, his painting of the Russian takeover was reported as depicting "all the grief and agony that the people of Hungary have suffered..." [6][5] Once in Rome, Americo focused his studies on ecclesiastical art and the works of Renaissance masters, such as Raphael, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci.[7]
While studying at the Academy, Americo met Eva Holusa, then 16, a fellow student also of Hungarian descent, whom he later married and worked alongside for the remainder of his life.[1] He went on to instruct at the Rome Academy of Fine Art. It was then that he won the Vatican Portrait Award with a portrait of Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty, a figure personifying opposition to communism in Hungary in support of religious freedom, which was installed in the Vatican for permanent display.[3]

Brazil and Life as the Makks (1949–1962)

 

One of Four in a Series, Mural of Brazilian Chief Ajuricaba, by Americo Makk

In 1949, Americo Makk followed Eva Holusa and moved to São Paulo, Brazil. Eva's father, Dr. Bertalan Holusa, a former economic and agricultural adviser to Ethiopia's Haile Selassie, had fled from Africa with his family, to France in 1937 as a result of the Second Italo-Ethiopian War and then to São Paulo with its rapid industrialization.[3][2] The official language in Brazil was Portuguese. "Imre" in Portuguese is "Americo" and it was here where Americo adopted the Portuguese translation for his name.[8] Americo and Eva married in São Paulo on October 18, 1950. In 1951, they were appointed Professors of Fine Arts at the Academia de Belas Artes. That same year, their son, Americo Bartholomew, A.B. Makk, a respected artist in his own right, was born.[3] While in Brazil, Americo and Eva Makk jointly painted fourteen Catholic cathedrals, churches and basilicas.[9] Their most famous cathedral painting, "Coronation of Our Lady", was a 2,349 square foot (218 square meters) al-secco ceiling in the Cathedral of Manaus, the largest single motif painting in the world, which depicts the coronation of the Virgin Mary in her crowning as the Queen of Heaven.[3][10] The mural reportedly took two years to complete, working 60 to 100 feet in the air on wood scaffolding in "stifling heat and little light." [11] Americo Makk reported rats getting into the paints, and he suffered a fall from the scaffolding while painting.[12] During the period from 1958 through 1962, the Makks were appointed the Official Artists of the, then democratic, Brazilian Government painting government officials and murals, as well as church officials in Brazil, including Sobral Bishop Dom José Tupinambá da Frota.[3] At this time, Americo and Eva merged their independent styles by working side-by-side on the expansive cathedral murals that appeared to be painted by one hand.[13] From then on, Americo and Eva became synonymous with each other's work and the Makk family brand, "Casal Makk" (Portuguese for "Makk couple"), was created.[14] The remaining cathedral wall and ceiling paintings by the Makks are tourist attractions in Brazil to this day, which are signed Casal Makk, such as those found in the Parish of Our Lady of Patronage (Nossa Senhora do Patrocinio) in Jau, State of São Paulo, Brazil. [15]

Amazon Expedition (1957–1959)
In 1957, their cathedral work culminated with a request via telegram from the Governor of Amazonas, Plinio Coelho, for an assignment to travel the Amazon jungle, also known as the Amazon rainforest or Amazonia, to study the remaining indigenous Indian tribes, which were thinning by a boom of industrial growth and deforestation.[3][5][16][17] Both Governor Coehlo, and the Mayor of Manaus, Gilberto Mestrinho, later to succeed Coelho as Governor, co-sponsored the expedition, which was planned to last approximately one to two years.[3][17] Paintings were the medium of choice for the project, as it was known that some tribes hidden in the darkness of the jungle became anxious or reacted violently to camera flashes or flashbulbs.[18][19][3] For the year preceding the trip, Americo and Eva Makk explored areas of the rainforest to get acquainted with the subject matter.[19]
In 1958, the Makks, including 8 year-old A.B. with pet ocelot "Cica" (Hungarian for "cat"), accompanied by guides and a Catholic missionary priest, embarked on their expedition to study the flora, fauna and inhabitants of the Amazon rainforest.[3][20][11] The expedition began in Manaus, the capital of Amazonas, and the heart of the Amazon jungle.[3][21][17] The trip spanned over 1,000 miles of travel by foot, river boat, canoe, small plane and helicopter; there were no roads.[3][22][19] They planned to meet guides at designated checkpoints, who were considered friendly Indians of various tribes.[17] Travel was difficult due to frequent rains that turned to floods washing away landmarks.[1] With high humidity and rain, the Makks described suffering frequent bites from small black insects, called "piums".[16] Some tribes they met along the way believed that to have their image painted would result in their souls being stolen, thus simple sketches were made in those regions.[20][3][23]
Through the expedition, the Makks gathered and recorded images of varying indigenous people of Brazil, which included the Macus, Bare, Tucano and Boca Negra (Tenharim).[3][16] They often sketched subjects through the trip, painting them later. The Makks' memories of the trip were preserved in an estimated 70 paintings.[11] In a 1982 interview for Aloha Magazine, Eva Makk described the Amazon jungle, "Sometimes it was so dark and dense, we had to use flashlights at high noon in order to see... I think of it as a forbidden cathedral of God." [11]
Upon their return, the Makks painted four large murals in the Palace of the Governor in Manaus, Palacio Rio Negro.[3] One of the four paintings was of Brazilian Chief Ajuricaba leading his warriors with bow and arrow into battle against invading Portuguese forces armed with forged weaponry and armor during the expansion of Portuguese colonization of the Americas. Paintings marked "Amazonas" denoted the origin and time frame of the painting rather than a title. A small portion of their Amazon paintings was exhibited at the Brazilian consulate in Miami, Florida, in May 1969.[24][25]
In an interview from 1981, when asked whether he would have attempted the trip a second time, Americo responded, "It would be too dangerous to try now. It was too dangerous then. But we (he and Eva) had an artistic feeling and desire to meet challenges, to know and to paint what no one had ever painted before. So we accepted the invitation of the government. We were both ‘official artists of Brazil.’ But when it was over, we decided we would never do anything like that again. Because you only have one life."[19]

Move to New York City (1962–1967)
By 1960, the communist movement controlled television, radio and the press in São Paulo. Foodstuffs and gasoline were luxuries.[26] As a result of the increasing political unrest in Brazil, the Makks worked on immigrating to the United States to once again escape communism, which took two years to accomplish.[5] As they continued work on church paintings, the Makks often thought whether the communists would soon destroy them.[26] In 1962, the Makks secured a sponsorship from the Ecclesiastical Art Studio of New York in New York City and moved to Long Island, New York.[27][28] They left behind most of their belongings in Brazil to allow room for the Amazon paintings and sketches, taking with them four suitcases and a small amount of cash.[11][5] On May 10, 1962, knowing very little English, the Makks arrived at Idlewild Airport, in Queens, NY.[26][3]
Both Americo and Eva began exhibiting their work in New York in 1963. Returning to their ancestral roots with a Hungarian colony in New York, they began preserving Hungarian history and culture in their work. They also continued painting under contract for the Ecclesiastical Art Studio of New York to restore and decorate church ceilings and mural painting. In 1963, the Makks painted the Immaculate Conception Church located near West Point, The United States Military Academy.[29][30] In 1964, they were commissioned to paint a 26 foot by 12 foot canvas mural called "The Ascension of Christ" for the Memorial United Church of Christ in Dayton, Ohio.[31] In 1964 and 1965, Americo and Eva Makk exhibited their work at the World's Fair at the Paris Pavilion in New York.[32] A major portion of their collection at the 1964 World's Fair consisted of the Makks' Amazonas paintings.[33] In 1966, The Makks filmed a television show on NBC-TV featuring their paintings at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., which aired on December 4, 1966.[6] In 1966 and 1967, the Makks' paintings were exhibited at the International Art Show at the Carnegie Endowment International Center in New York City.[34][35] In 1967, the Makks made an appearance on the Johnny Gilbert Show in Dayton, Ohio, executing a painting on camera.[36] On April 17, 1967, Americo Makk, sponsored by Prince Rainier III, was awarded top "Director's Prize" by the International Art Exchange, New York-Paris-Monaco Exhibition, for his oil painting titled "Blue Morning." [37][32][36] The painting was subsequently shown at Salle d' Exposition Wilson in Paris.[38] The Makks were elected in 1969 to the "Fifty American Artists Association" of representational artists.[3]

Relocation to Hawaii (1967–2015)
In 1967, before going to Paris for the Salle d' Exposition in Paris, the Makks visited Hawaii and made the decision to relocate to the island of Oahu that same year. The reason for the change was in part due to Americo's health concerns, which included arthritis affecting his hands. The Makk family resides in Hawaii as of 2017.

 

 

Move to New York City (1962–1967)
By 1960, the communist movement controlled television, radio and the press in São Paulo. Foodstuffs and gasoline were luxuries.[26] As a result of the increasing political unrest in Brazil, the Makks worked on immigrating to the United States to once again escape communism, which took two years to accomplish.[5] As they continued work on church paintings, the Makks often thought whether the communists would soon destroy them.[26] In 1962, the Makks secured a sponsorship from the Ecclesiastical Art Studio of New York in New York City and moved to Long Island, New York.[27][28] They left behind most of their belongings in Brazil to allow room for the Amazon paintings and sketches, taking with them four suitcases and a small amount of cash.[11][5] On May 10, 1962, knowing very little English, the Makks arrived at Idlewild Airport, in Queens, NY.[26][3]
Both Americo and Eva began exhibiting their work in New York in 1963. Returning to their ancestral roots with a Hungarian colony in New York, they began preserving Hungarian history and culture in their work. They also continued painting under contract for the Ecclesiastical Art Studio of New York to restore and decorate church ceilings and mural painting. In 1963, the Makks painted the Immaculate Conception Church located near West Point, The United States Military Academy.[29][30] In 1964, they were commissioned to paint a 26 foot by 12 foot canvas mural called "The Ascension of Christ" for the Memorial United Church of Christ in Dayton, Ohio.[31] In 1964 and 1965, Americo and Eva Makk exhibited their work at the World's Fair at the Paris Pavilion in New York.[32] A major portion of their collection at the 1964 World's Fair consisted of the Makks' Amazonas paintings.[33] In 1966, The Makks filmed a television show on NBC-TV featuring their paintings at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., which aired on December 4, 1966.[6] In 1966 and 1967, the Makks' paintings were exhibited at the International Art Show at the Carnegie Endowment International Center in New York City.[34][35] In 1967, the Makks made an appearance on the Johnny Gilbert Show in Dayton, Ohio, executing a painting on camera.[36] On April 17, 1967, Americo Makk, sponsored by Prince Rainier III, was awarded top "Director's Prize" by the International Art Exchange, New York-Paris-Monaco Exhibition, for his oil painting titled "Blue Morning." [37][32][36] The painting was subsequently shown at Salle d' Exposition Wilson in Paris.[38] The Makks were elected in 1969 to the "Fifty American Artists Association" of representational artists.[3]

Relocation to Hawaii (1967–2015)
In 1967, before going to Paris for the Salle d' Exposition in Paris, the Makks visited Hawaii and made the decision to relocate to the island of Oahu that same year. The reason for the change was in part due to Americo's health concerns, which included arthritis affecting his hands. The Makk family resides in Hawaii as of 2017.