Lieutenant Colonel Danila (Daniel) Papp 1915

Almost full-length portrait, standing, body turned slightly sideways, looking directly at the viewer, hands in his coat pockets. In blue uniform coat and field cap, rifle shouldered on back, brown cartridge pouch on belt, binoculars around the neck. Background: fortified positions, behind them wide green landscape and a gray-blue cloudy sky.

JQAW# P_1915_010
Oil on canvas 82 x 60 cm
Signature: John Quincy Ɑdams. Lt. Col. Papp. Mahalla 15.V.15.
Museum of Military History Vienna, inv. no. KBI150 ref. no. 2725/2007

Danila Papp, 20.5.1868 Avram Iancu (near Arad) to 30.3.1950 Sibiu; officer, engineer and diplomat.
Thanks to new Romanian sources, the identity of Lieutenant Colonel Papp, still considered unknown in the 1961 HGM exhibition catalog (entry Liselotte Popelka), could be identified. Born in Transylvania, he graduated both from the Theresian Military Academy and from engineering studies at the Technical University in Vienna. Before the war, he was alternately a professor (in Sibiu and Vienna), a member of the Corps of Engineers (in Comoran and Trento), and an officer in various units. During the war, too, he performed both functions as engineer and officer. At the time of Adam's portrait, he was a Lieutenant Colonel of the Engineering Staff and commander of a Hönved (Hungarian Landsturm) brigade, which became known as the "Papp Brigade." The portrait shows him in front of the positions he and his brigade built in Mahala near Chernivtsi (Bukovina, today's Ukraine). For his leadership skills and successful operations on the Eastern Front, he was promoted to colonel. Transferred to the Romanian Army in 1918, he was promoted to brigadier general in 1919 and division general in 1920; he transferred to the reserves in 1930 and retired in 1934. Appointed governor of Mures County in 1938; as of 1941 he served as ambassador to the Holy See in Rome, from where he returned in 1944. After the communist takeover, he was deprived of his pension and also thrown out of his living quarters. He spent his last days in a basement room in the house of friends in Sibiu, where he also died and was buried in 1950. Danila Papp was married and had a son, who was killed in the First World War.

The Adams portrait of Danila (Daniel) Papp stands out especially for the confident, cool habitus of the sitter, and conveys well his personality and leadership qualities (which brought about great loyalty from his troops), and which were praised several times by Papp's superiors. The portrait was widely exhibited and also published as an art postcard with German and Hungarian titles. Papp was also portrayed in a drawing by the artist Oskar Brüch (1869-1943). After a spectacular career in the k.u.k. Army and in the Kingdom of Romania after the end of the war, he became a victim in old age of the political upheavals in Europe that led to the Iron Curtain.


Links to his biography (in Rumanian):

Romania Military


War exhibitions of the k.u.k. War press corps:
1915 Vienna(#374),
1916 Zurich (#175) and Berne (#2).
1917 Adams/Ohmann Exhibition Künstlerhaus Vienna (#43).
1934 Künstlerhaus Wien (#279).
1961 HGM Wien (#21).


Bilder aus dem Ersten Weltkrieg, catalog, HGM Vienna 1961, H Zatschek (ed.), text: L Popelka, cat #21.

APH, catalog raisonné JQA 1995, 1995, p. 140, cat.#108, fig. 79.


War Press Corps Vienna to k.u.k. Army Museum.
Museum of Army History (HGM) Vienna Inv. Nr. KBI150 Bez.Nr.