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 Francis (Ferenc) De Erdelyi  (1904 - 1959)



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Lived/Active: California / Hungary      Known for: painting

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Ad Code: 2
Francis De Erdely
from Auction House Records.
Lunch Time
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Francis De Erdely was recognized for his artistic influence on many emerging California artists during the 1940's, and was known for colorfully capturing the plight of the working class in their own environment. DeErdely was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1904, where his father was a Hungarian military officer. His experiences as a teenager during World War I fueled the often horrific imagery in his earliest art work. His graphic depictions angered the Gestapo, and he was eventually forced to flee Hungary.

In his youth he attended the Royal Academy of Art in Budapest and during the 1930's he studied throughout Europe, at the Academy of San Fernando in Madrid, Spain and at the Sorbonne and the School of the Louvre, both in Paris, France. He lived in Belgium, Holland, France, Czechoslovakia and Austria before coming to Los Angeles, California in 1944.

His rich academic background is reflected in his use of mixed media. De Erdely often made drawings in ink, crayon, charcoal or pencil, then applied a watercolor wash over it. He liked to sketch and paint in Mexico, taking an interest in its people and culture. He painted his subjects as they existed in everyday surroundings, often depicting figures at work or in nature.

While living in Los Angeles during the 1940's, he exhibited with the California Watercolor Society and the American Watercolor Society. DeErdely joined the faculty of the University of Southern California in 1945 and served as the Dean at the Pasadena Museum School from 1944-1946. He died in Los Angeles, California in 1959.

Gordon McClelland and Jay Last, "The California Style"

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Francis DeErdely was born in Budapest, Hungary on May 3, 1904.  DeErdely studied at the Royal Academy in Budapest.  He moved to the U.S. shortly before the onset of WWII and soon settled in Los Angeles.  He taught art at USC from 1945 until his death in Los Angeles on Nov. 28, 1959. 

Exhibited:  Detroit Inst. of Art, 1940-44 (awards); Pennsylvania Academy of FineArts, 1941; Art Institute of Chicago, 1942-45; Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1943; San Francisco Art Ass'n, 1945-50; Laguna Beach Art Ass'n, 1945-48; California Watercolor Society, 1945-55; Pasadena Society of Artists, 1946-49 (awards); Oakland Art Gallery, 1947-51 (prizes); Arizona State Fair, 1949 (award); Los Angeles City Hall, 1951; Palos Verdes Art Ass'n, 1953; Audubon Ass'n, 1954 (medal). 

Works held:  De Young Museum; Pasadena Art Institute; Denver Museum; Nat'l Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne); Oakland Museum; Seattle Museum; University of Utah; Detroit Institute of Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Who's Who in American Art 1947-59; NY Times, 11-30-1959 (obit). 
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

Biography from Papillon Gallery:
Francis de Erdely was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1904. He studied at the Royal Academy of Art in Budapest.

De Erdely continued his studies at the Academy of San Fernando in Madrid, and in Paris at the Sorbonne and l'Ecole de Louvre. He lived in many places in Europe, including Brussels, Amsterdam, Vienna and Prague.

De Ederly abandoned war torn Europe and arrived in New York in the late 1930s. He had exhibited in Budapest and won prizes as early as 1925. He began a new, successful career in the United States; in 1939 he exhibited in New York City, in 1940-1944 at the Detroit Institute of Art, at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art in 1941. Through the next decades he exhibited at the Corcoran, the Carnegie Institute, the de Young Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and many more.

De Erdely was an important teacher, first at the Netherlands Art Academy in The Hague, and then at the Pasadena Museum School, and from 1945 until he died he was a professor of art at the University of Southern California. His influence on the art community of Southern California cannot be overstated; he was one of the most respected teachers of art for more than a generation.

De Erdely was a modernist with roots in the techniques of the Cubists and the tradition of Cezanne. Typical of his Eastern European experience his subjects are often filled with angst, but ultimately his works are a celebration of the human experience, like many of the artists of l'École de Paris. He was a brilliant draftsman, a sophisticated colorist, a master of composition, expressive, and innovative.

De Ederly was a tall imposing figure, often described as an eccentric bohemian; he was known to wear a long black cape and a large brimmed hat. He frequented the coffee houses and Jazz clubs the proliferated the local scene after World War II.

De Ederly is represented in every major museum in California, including Los Angeles County Museum of Art. His works are in the collections of the de Young Museum, the Cranbrook Academy the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia.

Biography from Anderson Shea Art Appraisals:
"Francis De Erdely was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1901.  De Erdely's traditional academic training was conducted at the Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest, at the Real Academie de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid, and at the Sorbonne and Ecole du Louvre in Paris.  Trained in Europe, De Erdely's technique, draftsmanship, and compositions were steeped in classicism.  But his exposure to the devastation of both World Wars strongly informed the content of his work.  As his career developed, he became less interested in history painting and the themes of classical Antiquity.  He became increasingly more interested in depictions of the human condition and themes of memory, loss, and struggle began to permeate his work.

He immigrated to the United States in 1939.

De Erdely is best known for his figure-based paintings done in Los Angeles during the 1940s and 1950s of immigrants, and other ethnic or social outsiders.  It can be argued that the subjects of these paintings relate directly to De Erdely's own experience as an immigrant in a new country.  The works De Erdely's created while living in Southern California began to capture profound narrative meditations on the human condition and anxieties faced by the lower classes and immigrants.  His personal insight enabled him to create highly emotional, powerful contemplations on the experiences of the people of Los Angeles. In these paintings he confronted controversial social issues relating to race, politics, labor, and immigration in the Los Angeles area.  His paintings focused on minorities and common laborers at work and play, depicting each individual in a manner that highlights their struggle, but also the honor and dignity of their experience..."

Anderson, Alissa J. 2006. Francis De Erdely: An Artist Who Became The Voice Oo Mid-Century Los Angeles. Master's Thesis.

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