Francis de Erdely

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.