LAMA BLOG

Artist Spotlight: Francis de Erdely

May 4, 2019

Through his training in Budapest, Madrid, and Paris, the Hungarian-born painter, Francis de Erdely (1904–1959), developed a modern style with a deep respect for the traditions of Classicism. Following the completion of his formal education, de Erdely travelled throughout Europe teaching and studying the technical methods of the Old Masters. As World War II began to ravage the continent, de Erdely immigrated to the United States. He first settled in New York and began successfully exhibiting at respected institutions on the East Coast. It wasn’t until he moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1940s, however, that de Erdely established his mature artistic identity.

Francis de Erdely, Woman & Tree
May 19, 2019 Modern Art & Design Auction

When the painter held his solo exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1944, he was immediately showered with critical praise. Los Angeles Times arts editor, Arthur Millier, compared the emotional intensity and dignity of de Erdely’s somber images of European devastation to that of Francisco Goya’s haunting nineteenth century etchings. The artist “[illuminated]” faces and figures that would otherwise go unnoticed and sensitively paired the frailty of his subjects with “tender coloring.” Millier asserted that de Erdely’s works “[burned] with sincerity” and that their humanitarian pleas were rendered all the more urgent by the care and compassion that the painter showed, not only to his subjects, but to his viewers alike.

Francis de Erdely, Still Life with Melon and Fruit Bowl
May 19, 2019 Modern Art & Design Auction

While producing these compelling works, de Erdely undertook a prolific teaching career. Credited with having incomparably shaped a generation of California painters, de Erdely taught at the University of Southern California from 1945 until his death in 1959, as well as at other schools in the Los Angeles area. In addition to residing in the permanent collections of nearly every major art museum in California, de Erdely’s paintings are in the collections of some of the world’s most prominent institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, and the Brussels Moderne, Brussels.

Francis de Erdely, Still Life with Bottles
May 19, 2019 Modern Art & Design Auction

Millier, Arthur. “Artist’s Exhibit Depicts Grim Horrors of War.” Los Angeles Times (1923-1995), Nov 26, 1944, pp. 2.

 


LOT INFORMATION

Lot 94
Francis de Erdely
Women & Tree
N.d.
Oil on canvas
Signed lower right edge of canvas; retains George Stern Fine Arts label verso
Canvas: 52″ x 28″; Frame: 61″ x 36.75″; (Canvas: 132 x 71 cm)
Provenance:  Lucy & Herbert Agid, California (acquired directly from the artist, c. 1953)

Estimate: $8,000–12,000
May 19, 2019 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 95
Francis de Erdely
Still Life with Melon and Fruit Bowl
N.d.
Oil on Masonite panel
Signed lower right edge of panel
Panel: 22″ x 40″; Frame: 30.25″ x 48.25″; (Panel: 56 x 102 cm)
Provenance:  Lucy & Herbert Agid, California (acquired directly from the artist, c. 1953)

Estimate: $2,000–3,000
May 19, 2019 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 96
Francis de Erdely
Still Life with Bottles
N.d.
Oil on Masonite panel
Signed lower right edge of panel
Panel: 20″ x 36″; Frame: 29.75″ x 45.5″; (Panel: 51 x 91 cm)
Provenance:  Lucy & Herbert Agid, California (acquired directly from the artist, c. 1953)

Estimate: $2,000–3,000
May 19, 2019 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 97
Francis de Erdely
Sunflowers
c. 1954
Oil on panel
Signed lower right edge of panel
Panel (vis.): 21.625″ x 39.5″; Frame: 22.625″ x 40.5″; (Panel: 55 x 100 cm)
Provenance:  Lucy & Herbert Agid, California (acquired directly from the artist, c. 1954)

Estimate: $2,000–3,000
May 19, 2019 Modern Art & Design Auction

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