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The Most Famous

PAINTERS from Hungary

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This page contains a list of the greatest Hungarian Painters. The pantheon dataset contains 1,421 Painters, 11 of which were born in Hungary. This makes Hungary the birth place of the 23rd most number of Painters behind Greece and Finland.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Hungarian Painters of all time. This list of famous Hungarian Painters is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Hungarian Painters.

Photo of Mihály Zichy

1. Mihály Zichy (1827 - 1906)

With an HPI of 57.83, Mihály Zichy is the most famous Hungarian Painter.  His biography has been translated into 18 different languages on wikipedia.

Mihály Zichy (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈmihaːj ˈzit͡ʃi]; German: Michael von Zichy; 15 October 1827 – 28 February 1906) was a Hungarian painter and graphic artist. He is considered a notable representative of Hungarian romantic painting. He lived and worked primarily in St. Petersburg and Paris during his career. He is known for illustrating the Georgian epic poem The Knight in the Panther's Skin on an 1881 commission by the intelligentsia. By the time he had completed 35 pictures, he was so moved by the poem that he gave his works to the Georgian people as a gift.

Photo of István Sándorfi

2. István Sándorfi (1948 - 2007)

With an HPI of 57.52, István Sándorfi is the 2nd most famous Hungarian Painter.  His biography has been translated into 46 different languages.

István Sándorfi (In France Étienne Sandorfi, 12 June 1948 in Budapest, Hungary, – 26 December 2007 in Paris, France) was a Hungarian hyperrealist painter. Istvan (known as Etienne) Sandorfi was born in Budapest in 1948 and died in 2007. His father was director of the American company, IBM, in Hungary. Because of this association he served five years in Stalinist prisons during the Communist regime and his family was deported to an isolated Hungarian village. At the time of the 1956 uprising the Sandorfi family fled the country and became expatriates, first in Germany, then in France. Greatly affected by the violence of the revolution and by the aberration of political systems in general, Istvan took refuge in drawing, and then, at the age of 12, in oil painting. Art became his overriding passion to the detriment of his schooling. At the age of 17, while still in secondary school, Sandorfi had his first individual exhibition at a small gallery in Paris. After his second exhibition, in 1966, he gave up drawing to devote himself exclusively to painting. In view of the morbid nature of his son's paintings and their lack of commercial success, Sandorfi's father enrolled Istvan at the School of Fine Arts, where he was to gain a degree, and at the School of Decorative Arts. This, the family thought, would give him a more prestigious status than that of mere "artist". Gradually he achieved financial independence by accepting, along with the occasional sale of paintings, portrait commissions and few advertising illustrations. In 1973 Sandorfi had his first significant exhibition, at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris. Exhibitions were to follow in France, Germany, Belgium and finally the United States. For about fifteen years he painted a series of large-scale self-portraits, sometimes told to be aggressive and theatrical in character, which gave him an ambiguous reputation with the public. It was written that he 'painted like an assassin'. From 1988 onwards the artist abandoned his disturbing images and began to concentrate and further elaborate on his technique. Preferring exclusive contracts, less for financial reasons than to avoid the administrative aspects of his career and a professional milieu with which he couldn't identify, Sandorfi worked with the Beaubourg Gallery from 1974 to 1976, and then for seven years with the Isy Brachot Gallery. From 1984 to 1988 his work was exhibited in various galleries by an interesting patron and collector and then handled by the Prazan-Fitoussi Gallery from 1990 to 1993. From 1994 to 2001, his paintings have been represented by the Jane Kahan Gallery in New York. Visceral and self-taught in work as in life, Sandorfi has since childhood distrusted 'things learned' and has remained true to his personal convictions. He prefers to paint at night, but each day goes to bed later than the day before, thus living in a perpetual time lag, which sidelines him from any social life. Sandorfi reconciles this isolation with his family circle (he is the father of two girls, Ange and Eve) and his emotional life, thereby maintaining a delicate and studied balance between his life and his work. From 2005 the Kalman Maklary Fine Arts representing Sandorfi, 2007 organized the first retrospective exhibition of the artist, with a monograph of his works.

Photo of Amrita Sher-Gil

3. Amrita Sher-Gil (1913 - 1941)

With an HPI of 57.15, Amrita Sher-Gil is the 3rd most famous Hungarian Painter.  Her biography has been translated into 49 different languages.

Amrita Sher-Gil (30 January 1913 – 5 December 1941) was a Hungarian-Indian painter. She has been called "one of the greatest avant-garde women artists of the early 20th century" and a pioneer in modern Indian art. Drawn to painting from an early age, Sher-Gil started formal lessons at the age of eight. She first gained recognition at the age of 19, for her oil painting Young Girls (1932) (shown below). Sher-Gil depicted everyday life of the people in her paintings. Sher-Gil traveled throughout her life to various countries including Turkey, France, and India, deriving heavily from precolonial Indian art styles as well as contemporary culture. Sher-Gil is considered an important painter of 20th-century India, whose legacy stands on a level with that of the pioneers from the Bengal Renaissance. She was also an avid reader and a pianist. Sher-Gil's paintings are among the most expensive by Indian women painters today, although few acknowledged her work when she was alive.

Photo of Mihály Munkácsy

4. Mihály Munkácsy (1844 - 1900)

With an HPI of 55.61, Mihály Munkácsy is the 4th most famous Hungarian Painter.  His biography has been translated into 26 different languages.

Mihály Munkácsy (20 February 1844 – 1 May 1900) was a Hungarian painter. He earned international reputation with his genre pictures and large-scale biblical paintings.

Photo of Gyula Benczúr

5. Gyula Benczúr (1844 - 1920)

With an HPI of 54.07, Gyula Benczúr is the 5th most famous Hungarian Painter.  His biography has been translated into 19 different languages.

Gyula Benczúr (28 January 1844, Nyíregyháza – 16 July 1920, Szécsény) was a Hungarian painter and art teacher. An "outstanding exponent of academicism", he specialized in portraits and historical scenes. He is "considered one of the greatest Hungarian masters of historicism".

Photo of László Mednyánszky

6. László Mednyánszky (1852 - 1919)

With an HPI of 52.78, László Mednyánszky is the 6th most famous Hungarian Painter.  His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.

Baron László Mednyánszky or Ladislaus Josephus Balthasar Eustachius Mednyánszky (Slovak: Ladislav Medňanský) (23 April 1852 – 17 April 1919), a Slovak-Hungarian painter-philosopher, is one of the most enigmatic figures in the history of Hungarian art. Despite an aristocratic background, he spent most of his life moving around Europe working as an artist. Mednyánszky spent considerable periods in seclusion but mingled with people across society – in the aristocracy, art world, peasantry and army – many of whom became the subjects of his paintings. His most important works depict scenes of nature and poor, working people, particularly from his home region in Kingdom of Hungary. He is also known as a painter of folklore of Upper Hungary (today mostly Slovakia).

Photo of Philip de László

7. Philip de László (1869 - 1937)

With an HPI of 52.39, Philip de László is the 7th most famous Hungarian Painter.  His biography has been translated into 19 different languages.

Philip Alexius László de Lombos (born Fülöp Laub; Hungarian: Fülöp Elek László; 30 April 1869 – 22 November 1937), known professionally as Philip de László, was an Anglo-Hungarian painter known particularly for his portraits of royal and aristocratic personages. In 1900, he married the Anglo-Irish socialite Lucy Guinness, and he became a British subject in 1914. László's patrons awarded him numerous honours and medals. He was invested with the Royal Victorian Order by Edward VII in 1909 and, in 1912, he was ennobled by Franz Joseph I of Austria; becoming a part of the Hungarian nobility.

Photo of József Rippl-Rónai

8. József Rippl-Rónai (1861 - 1927)

With an HPI of 50.78, József Rippl-Rónai is the 8th most famous Hungarian Painter.  His biography has been translated into 16 different languages.

József Rippl-Rónai (23 May 1861 – 25 November 1927) was a Hungarian painter. He first introduced modern artistic movements in the Hungarian art.

Photo of Igor Grabar

9. Igor Grabar (1871 - 1960)

With an HPI of 50.17, Igor Grabar is the 9th most famous Hungarian Painter.  His biography has been translated into 24 different languages.

Igor Emmanuilovich Grabar (Russian: И́горь Эммануи́лович Граба́рь, 25 March 1871 – 16 May 1960) was a Russian post-impressionist painter, publisher, restorer and historian of art. Grabar, descendant of a wealthy Rusyn family, was trained as a painter by Ilya Repin in Saint Petersburg and by Anton Ažbe in Munich. He reached his peak in painting in 1903–1907 and was notable for a peculiar divisionist painting technique bordering on pointillism and his rendition of snow. By the end of 1890s, Grabar had established himself as an art critic. In 1902, he joined Mir Iskusstva, although his relations with its leaders Sergei Diaghilev and Mstislav Dobuzhinsky were far from friendly. In 1910–1915, Grabar edited and published his opus magnum, the History of Russian Art. The History employed the finest artists and critics of the period; Grabar personally wrote the issues on architecture that set an unsurpassed standard of understanding and presenting the subject. Concurrently, he wrote and published a series of books on contemporary and historic Russian painters. In 1913, he was appointed executive director of the Tretyakov Gallery and launched an ambitious reform program that continued until 1926. Grabar diversified the Tretyakov collection into modern art and in 1917 published its first comprehensive catalogue. In 1921 Grabar became the first professor of Art restoration at the Moscow State University. An experienced politician, Grabar stayed at the top of the Soviet art establishment until his death, excluding a brief voluntary retirement in 1933–1937. He managed art-restoration workshops (present-day Grabar Centre) during 1918–1930 and from 1944 to 1960. Grabar took active part in redistribution of former church art nationalized by the Bolsheviks and established new museums for the confiscated treasures. In 1943, he formulated the Soviet doctrine of compensating World War II losses with art looted in Germany. After the war, he personally advised Joseph Stalin on the preservation of architectural heritage.

Photo of Vilmos Aba-Novák

10. Vilmos Aba-Novák (1894 - 1941)

With an HPI of 48.73, Vilmos Aba-Novák is the 10th most famous Hungarian Painter.  His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.

Vilmos Aba-Novák (Hungarian: Aba-Novák Vilmos, until 1912: Hungarian: Novák Vilmos; March 15, 1894 – September 29, 1941) was a Hungarian painter and graphic artist. He was an original representative of modern art in his country, and specifically of its modern monumental painting. He was also the celebrated author of frescoes and church murals at Szeged and Budapest, and was officially patronized by the Hungarian nobility.

Pantheon has 11 people classified as painters born between 1811 and 1948. Of these 11, none of them are still alive today. The most famous deceased painters include Mihály Zichy, István Sándorfi, and Amrita Sher-Gil. As of April 2022, 2 new painters have been added to Pantheon including László Mednyánszky and Katarina Ivanović.

Deceased Painters

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Newly Added Painters (2022)

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Which Painters were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 10 most globally memorable Painters since 1700.