Willy Pogány papers , 1910-1967

Overview of the Collection

Willy Pogány papers
1910-1967 (inclusive)
4.5 linear feet, (2 containers, 74 oversize folders)
Collection Number
Coll 199
Collection comprises artwork and papers related to artist and set designer Willy Pogány, including correspondence with his son, Peter Pogány Scott. Collection includes original art for books, magazines, and motion picture and stage productions.
University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives
UO Libraries--SCUA
1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR
Telephone: 5413463068
Access Restrictions

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Additional Reference Guides

See the Current Collection Guide for detailed description and requesting options.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical NoteReturn to Top

William "Willy" A. Pogány, born in Szeged, Hungary, in 1882, studied at Budapest Technical University and in Munich and Paris. His reputation as a muralist, painter and illustrator was well established in Paris, London and Munich before arriving in the United States in 1915, at the age of thirty-three. Skilled in an unusually wide range of media, he had won gold medals at exhibitions in Budapest, Leipzig, and at the Panama Pacific International Exhibition.

Among Pogány's many murals are those for the Heckscher Children's Theatre in New York City and the Niagara Falls Power Station. As a painter he did portraits of famous people in all walks of life. An expert on scenery design and lighting effects, Pogány also designed sets for ballets and operas, including "Le Coq d'Or," and for many films, such as Modern Times for Charlie Chaplin as well as animated cartoons based on his children's books.

Among his other artistic endeavors Pogány was an accomplished book illustrator. It was this phase of his career, especially as an illustrator of children's books, which gives this collection special relevance for Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Oregon Libraries. Pogány designed and illustrated more than 150 books. His illustrations include those for the Rubaiyat and the Sonnets from the Portuguese, The Song Celestial, The Adventures of Odysseus, Gulliver's Travels, and many others, both classic and original.

Working tirelessly right up until the end, Willy Pogány died in 1955. He is survived by his second wife, Elaine Pogány, a children's book writer, and his son, Peter Pogány Scott.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Willy Pogány Papers consist of the following series: correspondence, illustrations, and memorabilia and miscellaneous.

Business letters to Pogány have been arranged chronologically. Of interest to the researcher is the series of letters written by Pogány to his son, Peter Pogány Scott, which span the years 1931 to 1955, the year of his death. These contain many glimpses of the artist's busy life and philosophical remarks on the contemporary American world view.

The largest segment of the Pogány Papers is the illustrations. Willy Pogány worked in a variety of media which are only partially represented in this collection. Many original illustrations for books and for the American Weekly supplement to the Hearst newspapers are represented both in final form and in sketches, using pencil, charcoal, ink, watercolor, gouache, and oils. Of note is the illustration of Don Quixote being visited by demons of his madness, and extraordinary watercolor and perhaps on of Pogány's finest efforts (folder 40). Original artwork for books, magazines and motion pictures/stage productions is arranged alphabetically by title within each series. The remainder of the artwork consists of etchings for two titles and unidentified original works, randomly grouped by media and/or general subject matter where possible. A few tearsheets and miscellaneous photographs complete the collection.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Artists--United States
  • Hungarians--United States
  • Illustration of books--United States--20th century
  • Illustrators--United States
  • Magazine illustration--United States--20th century
  • Mural painting and decoration--United States--20th century
  • Set designers--United States

Personal Names

  • Pogány, Willy, 1882-1955.
  • Scott, Peter Pogány

Form or Genre Terms

  • Book illustrations