Michael VonDrak

Author Ilona Ryder with her artist father Michael VonDrak

Michael Emmanuel Franz VonDrak1 was born in Bolzano, Italy, April 29, 1925. His nineteen-year-old mother was Franziska (Fränzi) Wondrak.
The child’s father was film director Michael Kertesz (Curtiz) whom Fränzi had met in 1922 while working as an extra with Sascha Films in Vienna.

Ever since Michael was a boy, Curtiz and Fränzi had planned to bring their son to America. The Philadelphia art scene became a good fit for Michael
VonDrak. He studied at the Museum School of Fine Art and taught at the Bryn Mawr Art Center as well as for the Main Line School Night  association. In 1981, Michael’s long-standing goal to live in San Francisco came to fruition.

Over the years, Michael created versions of his artistic vision for business purposes. Of the many bits scattered throughout his personal effects, the brochure from his years in San Diego features this statement:
“Artists should be able to create expressions in such a way that they appear visually and need no verbal explanation.”

Michael’s biography is also available.

His insistence that the artwork should speak for itself echoes some of our conversations. So why, you may ask, am I writing this when his art says so much? Why does anyone write books about art and artists, attempting to explain the created works and the artists’ methods and intentions? – Ilona Ryder.

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