The Faceless Paintings – Revisited

In my Thursday, August 2, 2012 post titled “The Faceless Paintings,” I called attention to what I thought was fact regarding our artist Tibor Jankay having never sold a painting in his lifetime. For those of you who read the story, you may recall he regarded his paintings as family. You may also recall how following his death at age 94 his paintings were willed to a museum in Hungary specifically dedicated to the display of his work. On many occasions through the years, I have had different prominent art dealers confirm the fact that there were no records of Tibor Jankay’s paintings ever being sold. In essence, what I had hanging prominently in the entry of our home was a pair of paintings with no monetary value.
In a few short days following the publishing of the Tibor and Irene Jankay’s love story, I received an extremely heartwarming email from a lady in Massachusetts. It turns out she had been in search of anything having to do with the artist named Tibor Jankay. I contacted her by telephone and was re-warmed as she told me her side of the Tibor Jankay epic.
As she grew up, her Father told her tales of his childhood best friend Tibor Jankay. At the time Tibor and Irene were separated and struggling to stay alive, the very same scenario was taking place for her Father. The same miraculous story, which I had related in my blog, had been partially told to her by her Father as well. She explained to me how her family had traveled to California to visit Tibor. She had been in the very same room in which I sat and listened to their story.
The emotions between two strangers poured out. What an amazing feeling for me, to be touched so deeply by a stranger who was thanking me for the words I had scribed. The lady had recently lost a loved one and felt much of whom they were came back to her through the story of the Faceless Paintings.
Last weekend, Cathy and I visited a prominent art dealer in Santa Barbara. Our purpose was to once again research our artist, Tibor Jankay. We never expected to uncover anything unknown to us.
When the gallery manager looked up from his computer and announced that there had been 21 recent sales of paintings by the Hungarian-born artist Tibor Jankay, my only words were, “Are you sure?”
“Yes,” he responded. “The last painting sold in June of this year, at auction for twenty-four thousand dollars.”
So… it appears my two Faceless Paintings have much more than intrinsic and sentimental value.
I bet Irene and Tibor are smiling.
Thank God for palette knives.
A note: Auction houses usually sell paintings for less than dealers. However, when a vibrant market exists for an artist, the opposite most likely will apply. Usually the last known sale price on an artist’s work establishes the market value, but not always.


  1. what you now have in your possession are works of art that have a monetary estimated value, coupled
    with a priceless value to you and your attachment to the artist & his bride… sounds like the best of both worlds to me… 🙂 rog

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