This spirited head study by Hungarian portraitist, Arthur Ludwig Ratzka (b. 1869) captures an aspect of the sitter that extends beyond the aesthetic alone. There’s a glint in his eye as he’s turning towards you - a knowing expression that suggests a story.
Ratzka was a master with pastels - often choosing to work in just two colours, plus black and white. Working quickly enabled him to imbue a portrait with a sense of soul. His sitters seem to carry a degree of vitality - almost as if they’re staring back at you across the decades.
The details of this particular gentleman are unknown but there’s an inscription that reads “First Minister”.
The portrait is signed in the lower right and housed within a good later frame.
Medium: Pastels Overall size: 26½” x 34½” / 67cm x 88cm Year of creation: c. 1915 Condition: Slight tear in the bottom right but overall very presentable. Artist’s Auction Highlight: £1,283 achieved for a portrait at an auction in 1999.