Francis de Erdely

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Francis de Erdely
Erdélyi Ferenc

May 3, 1904
DiedNovember 28, 1959
EducationRoyal Academy of Art, Budapest; Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, Madrid; Sorbonne, Paris
Known forSculpture, Painting, Drawing
MovementSurrealism, Expressionism, Cubism, Modernism

Francis de Erdely (Hungarian: Erdélyi Ferenc) (1904–1959) was a Hungarian-American artist who was renowned in Europe and the United States for his powerful figure paintings and drawings as well as for his teaching abilities.


Francis De Erdely was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1901. De Erdely first studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest, as well as the Real Academie de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid and the prestigious Sorbonne and Ecole du Louvre in Paris. De Erdely’s technical abilities, brushwork, and composition were based in European classicism. Politics began to inform his work when Fascism began to gain ground in Europe. As De Erdely's career developed, he became less focused on history painting and the themes of classical Antiquity. Subjects surrounding war, suffering, and human strength became present.

De Erdely immigrated to the United States in 1939. Living in New York and Chicago, he was hired to paint portrait of wealthy patrons. He also painted images of the American Scene. It was after his move to Los Angeles, when his mature work developed and he established himself as an American artist. He is best known for his figure-based paintings done in Los Angeles during the 1940s and 1950s of immigrants, laborers, dancers, and social outsiders. It has been argued that this period of his work relate directly to De Erdely’s own experience as an immigrant in a new country.



  • 1925 Budapest, Hungary
  • 1939 Hungarian Relief Library, New York, New York, United States
  • 1940–1944 Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, Michigan, United States
  • 1940 De Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, California, United States
  • 1940 Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, California, United States
  • 1941 Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 1942 Vancouver Museum of Fine Art
  • 1942–1945 Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States
  • 1942–1943 The Scarab Club, Detroit, Michigan, United States
  • 1943 Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., United States
  • 1943–1944 De Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, California, United States
  • 1945–1946 Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado, United States
  • 1945–1946 San Francisco Fine Arts Association, California, United States
  • 1946 Pasadena School of Arts, Pasadena, California, United States
  • 1950 Laguna Beach Art Gallery, Laguna Beach, California, United States
  • 1950 Crocker, Sacramento, California, United States
  • 1950 Haggin Museum, Stockton, California, United States
  • 1950 Oakland Art Museum, Oakland, California, United States
  • 1959–1960 Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, California, United States
  • 1960 Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington, United States
  • 1960 Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California, United States


  • 1925 Budapest, Hungary (Szinyei-Merse Grand Prize)
  • 1929 Ghent, Belgium (Triennial Bronze Medal)
  • 1940–1944 Detroit Art Institute (prizes)
  • 1942 Scarab Club (medal)
  • 1943 Scarab Club (medal)
  • 1946 Scarab Club (prize)
  • 1946 Pasadena School of Arts (prize)
  • 1947–1951 Oakland Art Gallery (prizes)
  • 1949 Arizona State Fair (award)
  • 1954 Audubon Association (medal)


  • Anderson Campbell, Alissa (2006). Francis De Erdely. Santa Barbara: Anderson Art and Appraisals.
  • Art Encyclopedia. I/632.
  • Cummings, Paul. A Dictionary of Contemporary American Artists. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 97.
  • Cyclopaedia of Hungarian Painters and Graphic artists. 156.
  • Falk, Peter Hastings, ed. (1985). Who Was Who in American Art. Sound View Press. p. 155.
  • Falk, Peter Hastings, ed. (1998). Record of the Carnegie Institute's International Exhibitions 1896-1996. Sound View Press. p. 106.
  • Hughes, Edan Milton (1989). Artists in California, 1786–1940. San Francisco: Hughes Pub. p. 289.
  • McClelland, Gordon T.; Last, Jay T. California Watercolors 1850-1970. Hillcrest Press. p. 104.
  • Millier, Arthur (1960). Francis De Erdely: 1904-1959. Pasadena Art Museum.
  • Moure, Nancy Dustin Wall (1998). California Art: 450 Years of Painting and Other Media. Los Angeles: Dustin Publications. pp. 287–295.
  • Vollmer Encyclopedia. 2/46. 2013-01-10.
  • Watson, Ernest W. (1950). Twenty Painters and How They Work. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications.

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