Gyula Zilzer was born in Budapest, Hungary. He received his art schooling in Europe at the Royal Academy of Arts in Budapest, the Hans Hofmann School of Art in Munich, the Royal Polytechnic University in Budapest, and the Academie Colorossi in Paris. While in Europe, Zilzer had exhibitions in London, Amsterdam, Moscow, and Paris. He won prizes at the International Exhibition in Moscow (1927), International Exhibition in Bordeaux (1927), and a French Government Scholarship in 1928.
Zilzer’s success as a graphic artist dates from 1924, when he published a series of lithographs in an album called “Kaleidoscop”- which reached nine editions. In Paris, he illustrated the works of Edgar Allen Poe published by Picart. In 1932, his folio of 24 lithographs entitled “Gas Attack” with a preface by Romain Rolland appeared (Edition du Phare). Made special study of etching and color etching. During his scholarship of the French Government for study of etching and illustration, one of his drawings was purchased by the French Government with a letter of approval of Marechalle Joffre. Exhibited at Bordeaux and was granted an Honorary Diploma. His works are included in the permanent collection of the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; Graphisches Cabinet, Munich; Museum of Modern Art, Budapest; The New York Public Library Graphic Collection; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum Graphic Collection, New York; Museum d’Art d’Occident, Moscow. During his time in America, Zilzer became a part of the WPA. The Works Progress Administration (renamed in 1939 as the Work Projects Administration; WPA) was the largest and most ambitious American New Deal agency, employing millions of unemployed people (mostly unskilled men) to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads. In a much smaller but more famous project, Federal Project Number One, the WPA employed musicians, artists, writers, actors and literacy projects. The Federal Art Project was the visual arts arm of the Great Depression-era Works Progress Administration, a Federal One program. Funded under the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935, it operated from August 29, 1935, until June 30, 1943. It was created as a relief measure to employ artists and artisans to create murals, easel paintings, sculpture, graphic art, posters, photography, Index of American Design documentation, museum and theatre scenic design, and arts and crafts. The Federal Art Project operated community art centers throughout the country where craft workers and artists worked, exhibited and educated others. The project created more than 200,000 separate works, some of them remaining among the most significant pieces of public art in the country. For 10 years, Zilzer lived in Hollywood as a production designer for many important films. In 1954, he moved to New York to specialize in color woodcut and monotypes, and new methods of stencil printing. He passed away in New York in 1969. Exhibited: Salon des Independents, Salon d’Atumne, Salon l’Araignee, Gallerie Billiet (Paris); Kunst Zaal Van Leer, Stedeligh Museum (Amsterdam); Bloomsbury Gallery (London); Chicago Art Institute; Ernst Museum (Budapest); Mellon Galleries (Philadelphia); New School of Social Research, Associated American Artists, Art of Today Gallery, The Theodor Herzl Institute (New York); The Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego (California); The Los Angeles County Museum; The Young Memorial Museum (San Francisco).