Liner Lieutenant Miklós von Horthy 1917

Half-length portrait en face, upper part of the body slightly turned sideways, looking directly at the viewer. In navy uniform, without cap, with chest decorated with orders and a medal in the form of a black paw cross. Background formed only by colored, textured area, forming a roughly oval portrait.

JQAW# P_1917_060
Oil on canvas, dimensions unknown.
Signature: John Quincy Ɑdams 1917
Lost (1945 war loss Heeresgeschichtliches Museum, Vienna)
Image source: B/W reproduction from book publication

Miklós Horthy (Knight Nikolaus Horthy of Nagybánya) (18.6.1868 Kenderes to 9.2.1957 Estoril), k.u.k. Naval officer, admiral, and later imperial administrator (1920-1944) of Hungary. For his biography, see his detailed Wikipedia entry.
Born of Hungarian minor nobility, Horthy graduated from the Naval Academy in Fiume and went through a classic officer's career from 1886 onwards. In 1909-1914 he was wing adjutant to Emperor Franz-Josef I. He returned to active naval service at the outbreak of World War I. At the time of the 1917 Adams portrait, he was a liner lieutenant and captain of the S.M.S. Novara (catalog of the 1917 Adams exhibition), later promoted to admiral and, from February 1918, commander of the k.u.k. Navy. After the war ended, he was a member of the conservative counter-government and led the armed struggle against Bela Kuhn's soviet-style republic; in 1920 he was elected as imperial administrator (provisional head of state of the Kingdom of Hungary) and pursued conservative authoritarian anti-Semitic policies. After the occupation of Hungary by German troops, he was deposed in 1944 and imprisoned in Germany. Liberated by the Americans in 1945, he went into exile in Switzerland and then in Portugal, where he died.

Adams’ oil sketch of Miklós von Horthy from 1917 still shows him in the comparatively modest naval officer's uniform (later portraits, such as the one by Pilip de László from 1927, show him significantly more ostentatious, see cross-references) but aptly reproduce Horthy's energetic look and character. The portrait was either made in a formal session in Vienna or is based on a sketch Adams is likely to have made 1916 in Pola and which he completed in Vienna afterwards. Dedicated by the artist in 1917 to the k.u.k. army museum in Vienna, the portrait remained there until 1945 and has since been listed as a war loss. (The museum lost about a third of its holdings due to bomb damage and looting of the storage depots). Given the prominence of the sitter, it could possibly have survived looting, but destruction of the work is probably more likely. In this catalog, the work is listed as "lost" until evidence of its destruction is found. A b/w reproduction has survived in a rare book publication (Richard Lerch, Österreich-Ungarn zur See, Verlag für Technik und Industrie, Vienna 1918 p.16a) and is reproduced here.


1917 Künstlerhaus Vienna (no record in the KH entry books).



1917 Artist to War Press Corps Vienna, from there to k.u.k. Army Museum.
Army History Museum HGM Vienna Inv.#KBI1450. War loss in 1945, lost since.