Born Nagy-Kanisza, Hungary
Died London, England
Kalman Kemeny was born and trained in Budapest, Hungary, and served as an officer, commissioned as the youngest Official War Artist with the Austro-Hungarian army on the Italian and Eastern Fronts between 1915 and 1917. His memories of this period were later recorded by the Imperial War Museum. He attended the Academy of Creative Arts in Vienna as a graduate (1920-23) and postgraduate (1923-25). In 1925 he moved to Pilsen, Czechoslovakia, immigrating to England in 1938. He settled in London and during the Second World War worked in an aircraft factory and as a fire-watcher, while continuing to practise as an artist, painting portraits, landscapes and still lives. Postwar he taught at Hammersmith College of Art (1947-79) and was for some years advisor to the House of Commons Fine Art Committee. He also served on the Ben Uri Arts Committee in the 1950s.
Object type painting
Medium oil on canvas
Unframed 65.4 x 50.2 cm
Framed 81.2 x 66.5 cm
Signed signed, bottom right: Kemeny
Acquisition commissioned by the Society in honour of Cyril Ross
Accession number 1987-174
Display status not on display
This portrait was one of a pair (the other being of Mrs. Robert Solomon), commissioned by the Ben Uri Society of two of its prominent members: the sitter, Cyril J Ross, was the longstanding Society Treasurer, an amateur artist and a prominent figure in Jewish circles. President of the Soup Kitchen for the Jewish Poor for more than thirty years, he also kept it running throughout the Second World War and was awarded the OBE in 1947.