Gabor Peterdi Biography

Gabor Peterdi




Gabor Peterdi, painter, printmaker, author, and educator, was born on 17 September 1915 in Pestújhely, Hungary. He began his art studies at the Hungarian Academy in 1929 at the age of fourteen. His first solo exhibition was mounted at the Ernst Museum in 1930 and that same year Peterdi won a Prix de Rome scholarship for painting which allowed him to continue his studies at the Accademia di Belle Arti. The following year he went to Paris where he attended the Académie Julian and the Académie Scandinave. He joined Hayter’s Atelier 17 in Paris in 1933 where he explored the techniques of engraving.

Peterdi immigrated to the United States in 1939 and, later that year, his first American solo exhibition of paintings opened at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York. He soon became a US citizen and joined the military serving in Germany. After his military service, Peterdi resumed his printmaking career at Atelier 17 in New York. He found working with the copperplate cathartic after his military experiences. His first prints reflected the horrors  and destruction of war, but he soon began representing natural awakenings and biblical beginnings in such works as Adam and Eve.

He began teaching at the School of the Brooklyn Museum in 1948, organizing the graphic arts workshop there. Peterdi’s creative approach to intaglio continued to expand as he invented new techniques and printed from larger plates. In 1952, he became Associate Professor of Art at Hunter College, where he taught until 1959. In 1953, he began teaching at the Yale-Norfolk summer school, and he joined the art faculty of Yale University as a visiting professor, gaining a full-time appointment in 1960.

In 1959 Peterdi published his seminal book Printmaking Methods Old and New. It remains a standard technical reference for both printmaking students and professionals. Peterdi’s work garnered forty honors and is in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Massachusetts; the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois; the Flint Institute of Art, Michigan; the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Tennessee; the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the New York Public Library, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Art, Philadelphia; the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania; the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; and the Worcester Art Museum.

Gabor Peterdi died in Stamford, Connecticut on August 13, 2001.