Monsieur Rudolph Stulik

Illustration © The Estate of John David Roberts. Reproduced with the permission of the William Roberts Society. Catalogue information based on the catalogue raisonné by David Cleall. For this and full details of the exhibitions cited, see the links below. Any auction prices quoted may not include all fees and taxes, such as VAT and Artist's Resale Right charges.

Monsieur Rudolph Stulik

Monsieur Rudolph Stulik (aka Le Patron?), 1920
Oil on canvas

The Austrian chef Rudolph Stulik (1874–1938) was the proprietor of the Hôtel de la Tour Eiffel at 1 Percy Street, London W1. His restaurant opened in 1910 and became a favourite haunt of Augustus John, Wyndham Lewis, Nancy Cunard and their literary friends. T. E. Hulme's Poet's Club, including the subsequent founders of Imagism, F. S. Flint and Ezra Pound, met there in 1910, and Wyndham Lewis launched the Vorticist magazine Blast there in 1914. Stulik acquired works of art in exchange for free meals. Both Lewis and Roberts produced decorations for the restaurant, and Roberts describes it in his posthumously published memoir 'The "Twenties"' and depicts the Vorticists meeting there in his The Vorticists at the Restaurant de la Tour Eiffel, Spring 1915 (‘an imaginative evocation rather than an historically accurate record’ of the launching of Blast, which actually took place with a meal at the Dieudonné Restaurant in St James’s in July 1914 – Cork, Vorticism and its Allies).
Stulik was described by his son-in-law James Audain as 'a character. A superb cook, accomplished linguist and devout Catholic, he had been raised from an early age by the Jesuit Fathers in Vienna and had worked as a kitchen boy for Franz Joseph, Emperor of Austria. He had graduated by way of Belgium, the Hôtel de Paris, Monte Carlo and chef to the late Lord Kitchener in Egypt, to his present hotel . . . It had been patronised by royalty, notables of the stage and screen, and Americans visiting London were counselled "not to forget to sample the food at Stulik's 'Eiffel Tower'"' (My Borrowed Life (Sidney, BC: Gray's Publishing Co., 1962), p. 107).
He was the model for M. Stutz, the proprietor of the Mont Angel, in the 1922 novel Piracy by Michael Arlen, another of his customers.

Rudolph Stulik

Rudolph Stulik, from The Sphere, 12 June 1926

The Tour Eiffel went bust and its contents were eventually auctioned in January 1938. Stulik died later that year.
EXHIBITION HISTORY: Chenil Galleries 1923 (as Le Patron)?
REPRODUCED: Roberts, Paintings 1917–1958, p. 21

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