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American, 1915 - 2001
Painter and printmaker Gabor Peterdi has explored various graphic media, but he is best known for his engravings. Peterdi was born near Budapest, Hungary, where his parents, both poets, were active in avant-garde circles. His talents were recognized at an early age: as a teenager, he received a Prix de Rome.
After studying in Rome and Paris, Peterdi immigrated in 1939 to the United States. His technical sensitivity and skill, demonstrated in his art and in his teaching, helped generate a revival of printmaking in this country. An influential teacher, he has written books on the history and techniques of printmaking and established workshops at Hunter College, the Brooklyn Museum Art School, New York University, and Yale University, where he became a professor in 1960.
Peterdi's art is neither purely naturalistic nor abstract; instead, his use of line, shape, and tone is forceful and expressive, evoking the essence of his subjects. His work often conveys the power of nature, from the germination of seeds to the torrential downpour in his etching, Angry Sky. The rock formations, lava flows, and ice fields that he has seen during travels throughout the United States have also inspired the content of his prints.
[This is an excerpt from the interactive companion program to the videodisc American Art from the National Gallery of Art. Produced by the Department of Education Resources, this teaching resource is one of the Gallery's free-loan educational programs.]