Gabor Peterdi (American, 1915 – 2001)
MediumEtching and aquatint
DimensionsPlate : 19 5/8 x 23 3/4 in. (49.85 x 60.33 cm)
Sheet : 21 3/4 x 26 3/8 in. (55.25 x 66.99 cm)
Credit LineHope College Collection
LabelTrained in Europe as a painter and printmaker, Gabor Peterdi immigrated to the United States in 1939 to escape the Nazi regime. When America entered World War Two, Peterdi enlisted in the U.S. Army and returned to Europe to fight as a soldier. After the war, Peterdi settled in New York and established the Graphic Workshop at the Brooklyn Museum Art School. He then went on to teach at Hunter College from 1952 to 1960 and at Yale University from 1960 to 1987. Throughout his career, Peterdi drew much inspiration from nature, which he saw as an antidote to war, social unrest and other problems of the modern world. On the one hand, this haunting image of a shrub growing up through the bones of a skeleton may be read as a hopeful symbol of recovery and rebirth following a time of conflict. On the other hand, the resemblance of the shrub to a mushroom cloud also reminds us about the threat of nuclear annihilation that loomed over America during the Cold War era.