Pal C. Molnar Biography

Pal C. Molnar



Painter and graphic artist Pál C. Molnár (also: C. Pal Molnar; Pal Molnar-C, Molnar C. Pal) was born in Hungary in 1894. Showing an early aptitude for visual art, he was encouraged to draw and after graduating high school he studied at the Hungarian Royal Drawing School in Budapest from 1915 - 1918. In order to support himself, he became an art teacher and tutor. Following graduation from the Academy he was hired as a private tutor to the Szinyei family, with whom he traveled to Switzerland. There, he was greatly inspired by the Swiss landscape and the Symbolist works of Ferdinand Hodler; these would become sources of inspiration throughout his career.

He exhibited for the first time in Lusanne and Geneva to favorable acclaim. In 1921 he spent a year in France, earning a living by copying works at the Louvre on commission - a practice he considered his "real" eduation. He returned to Hungary in 1923, holding his first exhibition in his home country at the Belvedere Salon and obtaining illustration commissions from various publications. 
Around this time he adopted the "C" in his professional signature, referring to the surname his French-born mother, Jeanne Contat (his official monogram was "MCP"). From 1928 to 1931 he lived and studied in Italy on a scholarship from the Hungarian Academy of Art, one of the first Hungarian students to do so. This period of time honed his interest in religious symbolism.

By the mid 1930s he was exhibiting internationally, including in Italy, the United States, Scotland, and England. He illustrated numerous books, among them Shakespeare's
Corialanus and Rostrand's Cyrano de Bergerac, which earned him gold medals at salons in Paris, Milan, and Warsaw. His recurring themes of religion and mythology led to commissions for frescoes and large-scale paintings for churches and municiple buildings throughout Hungary.

Molnar was a member of the Hungarian Copperplate Engravers Society, the New Society of Artists, the Paul Szinyei Merse Society, the National Salon Association, the Munkacsy Guild, and the Feszek Seat Artists Club. He was an associate member of the Saint Stevens Academy, Budapest, the Accademia Adriatica d'Italia, Osterrichescher Kunstler Bund, and the Accademia delle Arti e del Lavoro. He continued to live and work in Budapest until his death in 1981.

Selected Awards:
1929: Monza, gold medal
1929, '31, '33: Padua Ecclisiastic Prize
1930: Zichy Mihaly Graphic Prize for Fiorettis illustration, Budapest
1930, '33, '36, '37: Gold medals for painting and graphics, Milan Triennale
1930, '34, '38: Diplome d'Honear, Warsaw; gold medals for painting and special prize at the Graphic Biennale
1934: First place, Paul Szinyei Merse Society, Budapest; Franz Joseph Jubilee Prize, Budapest
1936: First prize for illustration, New York
1937: Grand Prix and two Diploma d'Honneur, Paris World Exhibition; gold medal for new technique (metalographia), Monza
1938: Gold medal for woodcut, Warsaw
1939: Golden Cross presented by Pope Pius XII
1941: Gold medal for ecclesiastical works, Budapest
1946: Diplome d'Honneur for Illustration, Nancy

Find more about the artist on his website