Obituary: Paul Vincze
Friday 01 April 1994
PAUL VINCZE was a prolific artist and an internationally acclaimed medallist. He excelled at portraiture and his work reflects his sensitive approach to the subject, his mature work achieving an almost Renaissance quality. His sitters were many and varied, including Sir Winston Churchill, President Harry Truman, Pope Paul VI, Yehudi Menuhin, Prince Karim Aga Khan and JB Priestley, and they were rewarded with medallic portraits which were invariably realistic and hardly ever failed to please.
Vincze was born at Galgagyork, in Hungary, and studied at the State School of Arts and Crafts at Budapest and later under Ede Telcs, an extremely talented portraitist; Vincze absorbed his instruction with enthusiasm and, in later years, expressed the opinion that Telcs 'was the greatest medallist of this generation'. From 1935 to 1937 Vincze studied in Rome and then returned to his native country. Nazi persecution forced him to flee, however, and in 1938 he came to England, setting up his studio in London. He lived there for the rest of his life except for annual visits to his house in the south of France. He became a British subject in 1948.
Vincze exhibited in many European capital cities, including London, Paris, Rome and Budapest, and his work is represented in national collections and museums around the world. His oeuvre included a prize medal for the Smithsonian Institution, the Florence Nightingale medal for the Societe Commemorative de Femmes Celebres, a series of medals for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and coin designs for several Commonwealth coinages.
His two medals struck to commemorate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 probably did more to bring him to the notice of the general public than any other examples of his work. In the absence of any official medal for the occasion, several manufacturers produced their own, mostly of indifferent quality. Those by Paul Vincze were the exception. His portraits of the young Queen exhibited a charm and regal quality whilst avoiding the somewhat stereotyped images of previous official issues.
He was the recipient of several awards including a Premio Especial at the International Exhibition, Madrid, in 1951, a silver medal at the Paris Salon of 1964 and the first gold medal of the American Numismatic Association, 1966.
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