Hugo Gellert biographical timeline
(information from Hugo Gellert: People's Artist
born Budapest Hungary, May 31906
with his family, he emigrates to the United States.1909-14
attends Cooper Union and National Academy of Design; receives three awards and intends to study at the Julian Academy in Paris; outbreak of World War I forces him to return to the United States.
first anti-war cartoons published in the New York Hungarian socialist daily, Elöre
. Gellert contacts radical literary journal, The Masses
where he meets and befriends John Reed, Mike Gold, Floyd Dell, and Art Young.1917
October 10: brother Ernest, 21, a conscientious objector is drafted into the army.
November: government suppresses publication of The Masses. 1918
February: Gellert cover illustration for the first issue of a new magazine, The Liberator
, which featured John Reed's report on the Russian Revolution.
: brother Ernest Gellert shot and killed while confined in military prison as a conscientious objector, Fort Hancock New Jersey. The army claims his death was a suicide but the circumstances are suspicious.
Gellert advises local draft board he will not serve in an unjust war. He goes to Mexico, works on cotton fields irrigation project and returns to the USA after the armistice.
teaches art to the children of workers at the Modern School, Stelton, New Jersey.1922The Liberator
Decorates lobby of New Playwrights Theater, established by Mike Gold.1923
first solo exhibition, Keworkian Gallery.1925
staff artist at The New Yorker Magazine
[1925-1946] and later for The New York World, New York Times, Daily Worker
and other publications. For the next 60 years until his death, he will draw more than 1000 cartoons for various newpapers and journals, a critic of social injustices; an active organizer for resistance. 1926
member of the editorial board of the newly launched The New Masses
head of the Anti-Horthy League, the first anti-fascist organization in the United States. Gellert and his wife, Livia, picket the White House where Horthy's
representatives are being received by the President; the Gellerts are arrested.1928
50 foot mural for Worker's Cafeteria in Union Square, New York City; possibly the first labor mural in the United States, now lost or destroyed.1930
accompanies Count Károlyi, first president of the post-World War I Hungarian Republic; protest meetings called to draw attention to the Horthy regime. 1932
submits study for a mural to an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) titled Us Fellas Gotta Stick Together
: it depicts John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, President Hoover and J.P. Morgan in the company of Al Capone. MOMA wants to remove the work, and the work of two other artists, Ben Shahn and William Gropper, but upon threat by other artists to withdraw their work, all the 'offending' art is hung, albeit not reproduced in the catalog. (for details of controversy, see article by James Wechsler
1933 Karl Marx's Capital in Lithographs
John D. Rockefeller orders the destruction of Diego Rivera mural in Rockefeller center, because of its depiction of Lenin. Gellert organizes demonstration to demand a Municipal Art Gallery.1935 Comrade Gulliver
Solo exhibition at ACA Gallery. Exhibit at the Whitney Museum.1936
February: Municipal Art Gallery opens.
Organizes and delivers keynote address at First American Artists Congress (":Fascism, War and the Artists")Aesop Said So
organizes the Mural Artists Guild of the United Scenic Painters, AFL-CIO.
Addresses second session of Artist's Congress.1938
paints murals for the Communications Building in the New York World's Fair.1939-1941
active in organizing artists; chairman of the committee of delegates of 16 artists' societies that exhibited 1500 paintings, sculpture and graphics from all (then) 48 states at the New York World's Fair; served on the board as chairman of Artists for Defense; after Pearl Harbor, started organizing Artists for Defense into Artists for Victory, an organization that eventually included 10,000 members.1942
illustrated Henry Wallace's speech, "Century of the Common Man."1943-1946
exhibitions of artwork in Philadelphia and San Francisco; organizes Hungarian Committee for the Re-election of President Roosevelt; travels to Australia.1950-1970
mural for Seaman's Union headquarters; leads fight to free Mexican artist Siqueiros from jail.1953
Paul Robeson is guest speaker at 40th anniversary of Gellert's career.1959
murals for Seward Park Houses
in New York City.1969
joins editorial board of socialist journal, American Dialog.1973
mural for Hillcrest High School, Jamaica, New York.1974
exhibition at Budapest Museum of Labor History; awarded highest honor Hungarian Republic can bestow: the Order of the Banner.1982
appers in Warren Beatty's film Reds
as a 'witness' to historic events.1985
October 3: speaks at Masses
exhibition at Whitney Museum, New York; December 6: dies at home in Freehold, New Jersey.