arthur von ferrarıs
hungarıan orıentalıst paınter
Arthur Von Ferraris (1856 - c.1928)
Arthur von Ferraris was truly a citizen of the world at a time when that designation was relatively rare. He was born in 1856 in Galkovitz, Hungary, a small agricultural town. Like so many European regions in 1848, Hungary experienced a major reform movement—in this case to oust the longstanding Hapsburg rulers in Vienna.
Von Ferraris’ first move was to Vienna during his teenage years, where he was able to understand the language, and begin his art education. His first teacher was the Viennese artist, Joseph Matthaus, who specialized in portrait painting. Intriguingly, Matthaus had fought for reform in Vienna in October 1848, and had been sentenced to death for high treason. He was later pardoned and went on to establish a career painting the leaders of Austrian society. The young von Ferraris must have known of his mentor’s political activities—perhaps even supporting the same ideals. He did not stay long in Vienna however, leaving for Paris in 1876.
After settling into life in Paris, von Ferraris studied with Jules Lefebvre at the Académie Julian, and then with Jean-Léon Gérôme at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Both these instructors were advocates of classical educational methods, teaching students to draw first, and then to paint. Von Ferraris’ earlier training in Vienna provided him with a solid foundation, facilitating his smooth progress through his studies at the Ecole. He began exhibiting at the Salon des Artistes Français in 1881, just a year after beginning his studies with Gérôme.
The next notable journey for von Ferraris began in the winter of 1884-85 when he traveled to Egypt with his friend, Ludwig Deutsch, an Austrian painter who was also living in Paris. Undoubtedly Gérôme encouraged the trip as he so often did when students expressed an interest in Orientalist imagery. By the late 1880s, von Ferraris had set up a studio with another Orientalist painter, Charles Wilda, on the Boulevard de Clichy.
Regrettably, the peripatetic nature of his work, combined with his natural wanderlust, has left some gaps in the history of von Ferraris’ life. Although there is documentation of his presence in 1920s Vienna, his death can only be dated to an unspecified time after 1928.