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"Portrait of the Artist's Father"

Juan Rubik

In his autobiography Another Side of Me, Juan Rubik confessed that he could never quite get the hang of cubism. "I was twisted this way and that," he recalls, "trying to find a pattern that would work, that would show a different face of cubism, but no matter which way I turned it never worked out. It was all a great puzzle to me." It is ironic that this is the only painting to remain from his Cubist Period before he sank into utter Depressionism as described below.

Rubik faced great hostility from his parents and relatives, his father in particular, who wanted his son to join the family business in Budapest instead of mucking about with unrecognizable paintings. Upon viewing his portrait the elder Rubik flew into a rage, cutting his heir off and ripping out his own. Six months later, his health gone and his will broken, the prodigal returned home. On the night before his surrender he broke into the gallery where his cubist paintings were on display and maliciously covered each of them with a layer of matte black, perhaps symbolic of his renunciation of the world of art. The following morning when the gallery opened these eight paintings, hastily renamed "Variations on Midnight, #1 - #8" sold for an average of 60,000 forints each, the frantic bidding on "Variation #8" driving the price above 200,000 forints before the hammer came down. They are considered today to be the pinnacle of the Depressionist art movement.

Juan Rubik reluctantly joined the family firm as Vice President of Marketing. His father said that the happiest day in his life was when he unveiled the new sign above the factory that read: "S. Rubik & Son, Games and Novelties."


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