Bela Petheo Papers

Photo of Bela Petheo
Bela Petheo with self portrait as cardinal.

Bela Petheo (1934-2017) was a painter and printmaker who taught art history and painting at St. John's University for more than thirty years, served as chair of the Art Department, led the first semester-long study abroad group from St. John's, and retired as professor emeritus in 1997. Petheo was born in Budapest, Hungary, on May 14, 1934. He studied painting with Pál Molnár-C. In 1956, he received his Master of Arts degree in art history from Eötvös Loránd University. Following the Soviet suppression of the Hungarian Uprising, he departed for Vienna in 1957, where he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts. In 1959, he immigrated to the United States and, in 1961, entered the University of Chicago. There he studied lithography under Max Kahn and continued his studies in art history under Joshua C. Taylor. Petheo was awarded a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1963. He came to Saint John’s in 1966 and spent the remainder of his professional career there as both a teacher and working artist. He died May 3, 2017.

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