"Australian newspapers have responded to architect-cartoonist George Molnar’s recent death with substantial articles praising his abilities as “the finest newspaper cartoonist of his generation” (The Australian) and his personal qualities as “a cultured man whose wit was as elegant as his art” (The Age).
George Molnar, AO (1988) and OBE (1971), died only a few days before the opening of his last exhibition; a collection of watercolours launched by Ken Woolley at Tusculum, Sydney, in late November.
Born in Nagyvarad, Hungary, Molnar came to Australia in 1939 with a B.Arch (Budapest), and began work as a government architect in Canberra. At the end of the Second World War, he took up a lectureship at the University of Sydney and began contributing cartoons to The Daily Telegraph. His satirical sketches were precisely targeted with the subtlety of a stiletto, and executed with exceptional asperity of line—although it was claimed by some that he did not obtain good likenesses of people.
His talent was quickly recognised by opposition newspaper The Sydney Morning Herald, which employed him from 1952 to 1984, in addition to his positions as Associate Professor at Sydney University and Professor at the University of NSW. The SMH’s editor when he was first employed, John Douglas Pringle (who came to regard Molnar as his best friend), recently noted of his work: “It is true that his cartoons were very static. No-one moved in a Molnar cartoon. But they did not have to. Everything was expressed in George’s incisive drawings, each of which was a small work of art.”
Considered conservative (“irretrievably European”) in his attitudes, Molnar was a frequent critic of modernism’s preference of abstraction over human values—“we need more statues!”—and he enjoyed exposing irrational social fashions and foibles. He was widely read in four languages—Maygar, French, German and English—and often delivered homilies to acquaintances in Latin.
George Molnar is survived by his wife, Carol, daughter Katie (an architect) and son Christopher.
Edited from obituaries in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian."