Pál Kelemen

Pál Kelemen (24 April 1894 – 15 February 1993) was a Hungarian-American archaeologist, art historian, and international art lecturer who contributed to the research of Pre-Columbian art. Kelemen was one of the first to recognize the importance of medieval Spanish colonial artwork of the Americas.[1] Kelemen received the Order of Merit from the government of Ecuador.[1]

Early lifeEdit

Born in Budapest, Kelemen studied art history at the universities of Budapest, Munich and Paris, initially with an emphasis in pre-19th century Impressionism.[1] During World War I he served for four years as a Hungarian cavalry officer.[1] He witnessed the fall of Lemberg.[2] After the war Kelemen started to study early Christian and Byzantine art. In 1932, Kelemen moved to the United States. On May 2, 1932 he married Elisabeth Hutchings Zulauf and seven years later became a naturalized US citizen.[1]

Scholarly contributionsEdit

Kelemen carried out several cultural missions and surveys in Latin America, some under the patronage of the Cultural Division of the U.S. Department of State.[1] He also conducted art tours and lectures throughout the United States, Latin America and Europe.[1] Kelemen was a fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute and the recipient of an honorary degree from the University of Arizona.[1]

Kelemen authored several books about art history, particularly on El Greco, and became the founding member of the Bibliophile Society of Hungary. He also contributed to Encyclopædia Britannica and several other publications.[1] Kelemen supported the authenticity of the Dumbarton Oaks birthing figure. In Medieval American Art (1943) Kelemen called the figure a "unique statue... cut from a rather pale mottled jade [sic]... unbelievably smooth over the entire surface".[3]

Kelemen died at the age of 98 in La Jolla, California.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Pál Kelemen Papers 1914-1981 Kelemen (Pál) Papers". Arizona Archives Online. Retrieved 12 Aug 2015.
  2. ^ "03 September 1914 – The Fall Of Lemberg". The Great War Blog. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  3. ^ Jane MacLaren Walsh (2008). "The Dumbarton Oaks Tlazolteotl: looking beneath the surface". Journal de la Société des Américanistes. Retrieved Aug 12, 2015.