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Elbert Hubbard: An American Original - WNED | PBS

Early Artisans

Sandor Landeau

Sandor Landeau Sandor Landeau
Courtesy of the Roycroft Arts Museum

Sandor Leopold Landeau (Hungarian, 1864-1924)

Born: Hungary or France
Died: Buffalo, New York (near East Aurora)

Sandor Landeau was a prolific and widely traveled portrait and landscape painter. Many of the details of his early life are difficult to determine. He may have arrived in American when he was a teenager. Some sources suggest that Landeau spent some time in the South before moving to La Crosse, Wisconsin where he eked out a living as a free-lance painter, enjoying the support of the local gentry. An article in the La Crosse Republican & Leader dated October 27, 1890, tells of a Landeau painting entitled A Halt in the Mesa. It was purchased by some leading citizens of La Crosse and donated to the La Crosse Public Library where it still hangs today.

Though money was tight, support from friends and partrons made it possible for Landeau to go to Paris to study. There he studied under Jean Paul Laurens and Benjamin Constant at the Académia Julian and met the American landscape painter Alexis Founier. This encounter would prove valuable to Landeau later in his career.

Sandor Landeau - The Coming Storm The Coming Storm
Courtesy of Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc.
East Aurora, New York

Landeau sent what money he could back to La Crosse to pay debts and make good on the loans that helped to finance his trip and his studies. At one time, probably short on funds, he sent a number of his Paris paintings to La Crosse to be sold, but there was little interest, due in part to a stagnating U.S. economy. Another reason may have been that Landeau's staunchest and most generous supporters already had purchased or received as gifts a number of his paintings. They ultimately ended up with more from Paris.

Landeau's fortunes improved with the The Remorse of Judas which gained him entry to the Salon in 1896, Paris' most prestigious art exhibition. In his career, Landeau would earn four Salon de Paris honors.

Alexis Fournier Portrait Portrait of Alexis Fournier
Courtesy of a Private Collector

Landeau exhibited at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York in 1901 where he also was awarded a prize for his work. He moved back and forth between New York City and Paris before receiving an invitation from Alexis Fournier to join the Roycroft community. For a struggling artist, Roycroft's attraction must have been strong and the decision to move there relatively easy. The prospect of living and working in a community of bohemians and artists that had music programs and lectures by prominent figures of the day with the benefit of steady income must have been irresistible.

Sandor Landeau, like Alexis Fournier, settled in East Aurora and continued to travel and exhibit around the world.

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