Béla Bartók caricatured


One of my favourite 20th century composers and I’ve always liked this 1934 caricature from the BBC’s Radio Times magazine, reprinted a few years ago during the Proms season. I’ve searched in vain for the identity of the artist in the hope of finding more work in this style; the “R” monogram is undoubtedly a clue. The picture also turns up on a few Bartók websites uncredited. If anyone knows the answer, please leave a comment. Meanwhile this page has some examples of more recent portraits.

3 thoughts on “Béla Bartók caricatured”

  1. Mr. Coulthart,
    I, too, have been trying to identify the artist of the 1934 Bartok caricature since seeing it reproduced in Kurt Pahlen’s “Music of the World: a history”, N.Y. 1949. So far, I have nothing.

    But I wonder if you have seen the shameless copy signed by Axel Wilmer in 1935 that is currently for sale on the net at
    It is no. 2 on that list 73, and apparently bears Bartok’s autograph.

    Have you ever looked at a copy of the Radio Times for May 18, 1934 to see if there is some source information there?

  2. Hi Richard. That piece for sale is surprising, I’m sure Bartók would have preferred the original work.

    I’ve never looked for a copy of the magazine although I expect many of the larger British libraries have sets. I’d guess the artist will be credited there since the RT was usually quite meticulous about such things. If I find any further information I’ll update this post.

  3. A similar, Vorticist-style caricature of Arnold Bax by ‘R’ appeared in the Radio Times of 15 March 1935, but there is no clue to the artist’s identity. I’ll let you know if I discover anything further.

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