Zoltan Sepeshy's painting of two men gutting freshly caught fish.

Zoltan Sepeshy

American, 1898–1974

Tonight’s Dinner, c. 1943

Tempera on masonite

22 × 30 inches

Signed lower right



By the 1930s, Zoltan Sepeshy had become a successful and innovative painter, and an influential educator. He had a number of solo exhibitions in New York, from 1932 to 1956, and was represented by Midtown Galleries. Sepeshy was the first Michigan artist to be elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters and he earned the Carnegie medal in 1947. He became an instructor at Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1930, and held various roles there, ultimately becoming the Director in 1947, replacing the well-known architect Eliel Saarinen.   Sepeshy was passionate about working with tempera, even though he called it a “stubborn medium.” He wrote a book on tempera technique in 1947. Most of Sepeshy’s paintings from the 1940s depict the people, seagulls, dock scenes, and landscape of the northern Lake Michigan resort town of Frankfort, where he spent many summers. In Tonight’s Dinner two local fishermen clean the catch of the day aboard their own vessel. Other boats that have docked at days’ end are seen in the background against the brightly colored buildings of the harbor. Sepeshy is portraying one of the highlights of life in Frankfort – the fresh fish caught daily and sold off the boats to the townspeople.

Zoltan Sepeshy's painting of two men gutting freshly caught fish.