Gustave Miklos

Monograph, vol.1
Un Grand oeuvre caché

A Sculptor of genius devoted Art Deco, an important figure of the Xxth c. artistic avant-garde, G.Miklos yet have the place he deserves in art history. This is due to the fact that for almost a hundred years many of his creation circulated on the art market under other creators’ names. All this unaccredited work, anonymously produced, is the topic of the first volume of our monograph.

G. Miklos also has radically transformed the universe of illustrated book and bookbinding, which is an unknown fact. His fate was abruptly stopped by two wars not to mention the 1930s economic breakdown. Furthermore, his work suffered of from the discrete nature of the solitary G.Miklos who was above all aiming at perfection. He came to Paris in 1909 from his native Hungary. With his friends, Josef Csaki and Lambert-Rucki, he joined the Montparnasse and Latin Quarter Bohemia. To earn a living he secretly undertook several architectureal projects for some students. He attendeds Henri Le Fauconnier’s and Jean Metzinger's seminars, contributing to the Cubist adventure. During WWI he joined the army, leading him from Bizerta to Salonika where he discovered an array of intense colors and unknown decorative richness which from then on would influence all his future creations.

When he came back, he had to start from scratch but he was finally successful. His consecration was immortalized by two Parisian prestigious exhibitions, first in 1923, in l’Effort Moderne gallery –the Cubist den- and then in 1928 in La Renaissance gallery rue Royale. “I was one of the first to appreciate the charm your of Byzantine modernist Style “ the famous couturier-patron Jacques Doucet wrote in the 1928 exhibition catalogue. Indeed, Doucet was the first who discovered Miklos’s genius and gave him commissions of artefacts, sculptures and the decorations of his well-known St-Jammes studio.

For G.Miklos, the immediate post-war was characterized by decisive meetings such as with decorator Pierre Legrain or with engraver-publisher François-Louis Schmied known for his luxurious editions and book bindings – ones of the most sumptuous of Art Deco period. FLS entirely relied on G.Miklos’s secret collaboration for the whole conception of his books: from illustrations to ornamentation, from layout to bookbinding and lacquers.

Thanks to the revelation of Miklos’s archives, our opus provides irrefutable and unreleased evidences of Miklos’s undercover participation to these aforementioned books. With, on one hand, the discovery of his ledger with the heading titled ‘works for François’ (“Travaux pour François”) which was regularly kept up to date from 1922 to 1941, and on the other hand, pictures, watercolors, gouache, preparatory drawings, sketches and layouts realized for these editions.

Through François-Louis Schmied, Miklos worked with artists Jean Dunand and Jean Goulden with whom he shared workshops. The threesome got perfectly along. They belonged to the ‘Group of Four’ which included the animalist Paul Jouve who –unlike the other three was artistically independent.

In 1922, while he was bound to François-Louis Schmied’s productions in order to earn his living and to provide for his family still in Hungary, Miklos decided to stop painting and to start sculpture in which he would find fulfillments.

In 1929 he was one of the UAM founders along with Robert Mallet-Stevens, Robert Herbst, the Martel brothers, the greatest architects and decorators of his time. This fact alone makes him one of the most unrecognized initiator and instigator of the Art Deco movement.

Book-collecting and art milieu were struck later in the mid-30s by the economic crisis but the crisis in art lasted much longer than other area. At the end of the decade the world iwass once again in a turmoil. In 1940, Gustave Miklos was sent to Oyonnax as a drawing teacher for the national professional school. This involuntary exile full of disillusions, cast him away from his Parisian workshop and art collectors forever.

In sculpture, painting and “design”, G.Miklos’s creations are outstanding. They are celebrated only by connoisseurs since a large scale study dedicated to this artist and available to a wider audience didsn’t exist until today. An Analysis and a Catalogue raisonne of his works, unseen projects related to these disciplines are present in our second volume.