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Born, Györ, Hungary 1897

Died - Liverpool 1960

(Photograph - Trude Fleischmann c.1934)

George Mayer-Marton grew up during the final years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. His youth ended with two years under fire during the Great War.

He studied art at the Academies of Vienna and Munich. By 1927, married and settled in Vienna, he was Secretary, then Vice-President of the progressive society of artists, the Hagenbund. During the increasingly difficult interwar years he was on of the leading artists of the time, receiving widespread recognition as an artist and public honours, in Austria and beyond.

In 1938 with the advent of the Nazis and the enactment of Hitler’s race laws, he and his wife, a gifted pianist, were forced to flee to England as penniless refugees.

In 1940, during the London Blitz, his studio home in St John’s Wood was burnt by an incendiary bomb. Most of his life’s work and his personal possessions were destroyed. His wife never recovered her mental equilibrium.

Twelve years of itinerant lecturing for the Arts Council followed; years which were personally bleak and artistically frustrating. He was not in a position to paint in oil again until 1948. Nearly thirty years of oil painting were lost.

In 1952, after the death of his wife, and redundancy following a reorganisation at the Arts Council, he was free to take up the post of Senior Lecturer in the department of painting at the College of Art at Liverpool. This was a fortunate move leading to a renewal of prolific artistic output, particularly in oil and, for the first time, in face mosaic, a technique he had studied in Ravenna thirty years before.

The course in this technique which he instigated at the College was the first of its kind in the U.K, His civilizing influence and breadth of vision, underpinned by a deep understanding of Art History, combined with the technical skill of the practising artist, are remembered with gratitude by former students.

Dawn Wood

Dawn Wood, Oil on Canvas

His abiding interest in music was reflected in his painting and mosaics, not only in subject matter but also in the chromatic use of colour, and the feeling for structure and form which characterize his landscapes. In 1957 all the different strands came together with the Pentecost Mosaic, amongst his finest work, now displayed at the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.

Mayer-Marton died of leukemia in August 1960, leaving several of his mosaic designs unfinished.

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