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Fri, 07 Sep 2012 11:51:53 EDT by admin, 116105 views
Magyar Tudományos Akadémia
Music/Folklore paper by Katona, Csaba (all papers)
From Detroit to Padova. The Romance of a Gypsy Violinist and the Daughter of a Millionaire
Jancsi Rigó, the world famous Hungarian Gypsy violinist met Clara Ward at the end of the 19th century in Paris. Clara was born in 1873 in Detroit, she was the daughter of captain Eber Brock Ward, who had iron and steel manufacturing in the United States and he was one of the richest men of the State of Michigan. Clara married a Belgian prince Marie Joseph Anatole Erie de Chimay-Caraman, although she fell in love with Jancsi Rigó. Finally, she divorced in 1897 and married Jancsi. This was one of the biggest scandals in high society in the 19th century in Europe, moreover, all around the world. Later Clara became a dancer in the Folies Bergère and in the Moulin Rouge. The famous French painter, count Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec made a lithograph of her and Rigó, called „Idylle Princière”. This painting now can be seen in Cleveland. Clara was photographed on numerous postcards. The publication of her photos was forbidden in the German Empire by Kaiser Wilhelm II. After their famous marriage Clara and Jancsi divorced fairly soon. Clara moved to Italy and met her third husband. After a few years she married her fourth husband, also an Italian.In the last years of her life she lived in Padova. She died there in 1916. Rigó remained in the United States working as a violinist in a Hungarian restaurant in New York, called Little Hungary. He was not as successful as earlier in Europe. He died probably in 1927. His tomb can be found in the Kenisco Cemetery.
The story of Clara Ward and Rigó Jancsi’s scandalous marriage reflects the cultural and social history of that time, and especially women’s and minorities’ status in a changing civil society, carrying the remains of the feudal society. At the same time it is a special item in the American–Hungarian relations.
Brief Professional Bio:
Csaba Katona, historian, graduated from the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, specializing in modern Hungarian history. He started working at the National Archives of Hungary in 1998 as Archivist (1998–2010), later as communication officer (1999–2011) as the Secretary of the Director General (2003, 2005–2001), as Head of Department (2003–2004), as councillor (2010–2011) and as editor, responsible for several historical and archival journals (Levéltári Közlemények [2002–2004; 2006–2010], Levéltári Szemle [2000–2005; 2009–2010], ArchivNet [2003–2004; 2007–2010] and Turul ). He was also a member of the Committee of the Association of Hungarian Archivists (2008–2011). Now he works at the Institute of History, Research Centre for the Humanities, Hungarian Academy of Sciences as an associate research fellow and as communication officer of the Research Centre. His research field is the cultural and social history of Hungary in the 19th and 20th centuries. Since 2007 he has held the positions: secretary of the Hungarian Historical Society, member of the editorial staff of the historical journal Múlt-kor, was one of the editors of Világtörténet and Turul and editor of the homepage of the Research Centre for the Humanities and of the Institute of History.