First, an explanation of his odd surname, Molnár-C. Molnár was very close to his mother, Jeanne Contat (whom he conflated with the Madonna in his paintings) and he added the C in tribute to her.
The title on the drawing at the top of this post, Főzőcske, isn’t easy to translate. Kati said it’s “cooking”, like preparing a chicken for the pot. Beguiling? Leading him up the garden path? A book about the artist translates it as "Softening". The nicely characterised portraits are of actual people, the socialite Baby Becker (below left), who had worked in silent films with Alexander Korda, and the playwright Ferenc Molnár (below right), whose play Lilliom was adapted for the musical Carousel. The gossip columns avidly followed Baby Becker's affairs, and the readers of Est must have got the reference.
There is a full account of his life on the museum website. He was born in Battonya, a village in the far south east of Hungary, trained for three years at the Hungarian Royal Drawing School and then studied in Switzerland and Paris. His daily illustrations in Est started in 1924 and quickly brought him recognition.
At the same time as he was doing these little satirical drawings he was making religious paintings (above). He was awarded a scholarship to study at the Hungarian Academy in Rome, where he lived from 1928-31, still continuing his drawings for Est.
|Pál Molnár-C in his studio|
|St. John the Baptist|
MOLNÁR-C PÁL STUDIO MUSEUM
Ménesi út 65, Budapest 1118, Hungary
Phone Number: +(36)302011073
Thursday: 10.00 - 18.00
Friday: 10.00 - 18.00
Saturday: 10.00 - 18.00
Adults:1500 HUF (5 EUR)
Children/student/senior: 750 HUF (2.5 EUR)
With foreign language guiding.
Good surveys of his graphic works are available from the museum: The Good Old Days in Drawings by Pál Molnár-C; and Pál Molnár-C. Graphic Artist.