1932: Ernst Múzeum (Museum Ernst), Budapest
1936: Ernst Múzeum, Budapest
1943: Tamás Galéria (Gallery Tamás), Budapest
1947: Nemzeti Szalon
In 1930, the year of painting The Letter, Farkas had lived in Paris for 5 years. This was a crucial year in his artistic life: the artist who had painted his pictures in a light, French style up to that time, found his own way and began to paint still, anguished masterpieces.
Farkas's father was the founder and leader of the famous publishing company 'Singer and Wolfner'. He wanted his son to carry on the business; his huge, rigorous figure shadowed the childhood of the artist, who wanted to be 'only' a painter from a very young age. His first masters were László Mednyánszky and Károly Ferenczy. After the beautiful summers spent in Nagybánya, where he learned how to pay attention to the vibration of air and nature, he went to gain inspiration to Paris. The painting school 'La Palette' taught him how to construct a picture in the style of Cubism. His study tour was interrupted by World War I, and he could return to Paris only in 1925. He became the member of the Ecole de Paris, and the art collectors found him as well: among others, Auguste Perret and Le Corbusier, the pioneers of modern architecture, bought his pictures.
By 1930 he had already painted his masterpieces: Wave, Superstitious Afternoon, Beautiful View, The Fool of Syracuse. The Letter, which is also mentioned under the titles The Belated Letter and The Talkers, became a belated message itself. It was first exhibited in 1932 in the Museum Ernst, in Budapest and this exhibition meant to be the son's exam as an artist before his businessman-father. The exhibition opened two days after the father's funeral
The Letter is an oil painting on canvas. As for its technique, this was a curiosity in this artistic period of Farkas, as from 1925 he usually painted on wood with distemper. The Letter seems to have been made on white priming which shows through the skin layers of the oil with restless vibration, making the effect of the picture even more bizarre: this gives the 'it is and it isn't what it seems to be' - mood, to the painting, which is so characteristic of Farkas's art. At first sight the picture seems to be a quiet idyll. This may be the first time that Farkas' figures, those often returning later, appear: the old man with the white beard, two timeless lady in dresses evoking the 19th century. The one is in black lace dress and shawl with an oval-shaped medallion on her breast; she is wearing a yellow fur collar on her red coat. The other is wearing a hat pressed down with a red veil. Is it summer or autumn? Their hand are resting in their laps and on the elbow-rest of the armchair. And then something suddenly cleaves this idyll asunder: none of the figures have faces. They are, and they are not at the same time. Around the figures one can see anxious signs: dead walls - there aren't windows on Farkas' houses - , shivering boughs and a landscape, that, just as the figures, exists and does not exist at the same time. The dark horizon can be a lawn in electric light or a strange sea - the sea in the picture The Fool of Syracuse is black!
What did they learn from the letter? Or has something happened, that could be prevented by the letter? Or will something happen?
In 1932 Farkas went back to Budapest and, as an only heir, took over the leading of his father's publishing company. He died in one of the gas chambers in Auschwitz in 1944.