Fried was born in Budapest or possibly Szeged in 1902. His father - a watchmaker and jeweler- died when he was nine years old. In 1920 he entered the Budapest Academy of Fine Arts and studied under Gyula Rudnay for four years. His surviving early work includes charcoal drawings of scenes of life which reflect the hardship and poverty of the period after the First World War. To broaden his horizons he moved to Vienna in June 1924, taking with him seven oil paintings and sixty drawings. He was given a one-man exhibition at the Galerie Hugo Heller. This gallery was run by the Heller family. Hugo Heller, who had died the previous year, had been a bookseller and a central figure in Viennese cultural life, who was particularly noted for promoting the writings of Sigmund Freud. It was through the Galerie that he came to meet the younger generation of Austrian artists, who were connected with the Hagenbund and Art Critics and Art Historians such as Fritz Grossmann and Fritz Novotny. It was also through the Heller family connection that he is likely have met his first wife, Anna Politzer, the daughter of a Viennese goldsmith. He had a further exhibition at Galerie Hugo Heller in early 1925, but in June 1925 moved to Paris. On his move to Paris he established himself as a member of the Ecole de Paris. He set up a studio in Montmartre and through his acquaintance with the Belgian writer and avant garde painter, Ferdinand Berckelaers Michael Seuphor he was introduced to the Paris art scene. Seuphor was Hungarian speaking and this led to Fried meeting the Hungarian photographer André Kertész, with whom he established a lifelong friendship. Together with Kertész, Fried spent much of his time at Le Dôme Café, a popular meeting place for the many artists who had come to Paris at this time. Later that year that year Fried exhibited his first painting at the Salon d'Automne amongst the foreign grouping ’’beaux-arts de la France d'outre-mer” which at that time included Picasso and Chagall. In 1926 he married Anna Politzer, who had just completed her Doctorate at Jena University.

During these years Fried struggled to make a living. He appears to have undertaken dress design for a Paris Fashion house. Through his friendship with a sculptor who lived below him who ran a puppet theatre, he was employed as puppeteer, and this was recorded by a photograph taken by Kertész in 1930. He had when young ambitions to become a musician, and while in Paris he played the violin in a cinema orchestra. From 1931 onwards he painted White Russian refugee Cossack singers. Orchestras and musicians become an increasingly important theme in his work. Fried kept up his connection with Viennese art scene and appears to have visited Vienna on a regular basis in the inter-War years. In 1927 he contributed to the exhibition ’’Das Werden eines Kunstwerkes’’ at the  Osterreichisches Museum fur Kunst und Industrie. Other contemporary Austrian artists who exhibited were Georg Ehrlich, Ferenczy, Hannak, Jungnickel, Kokaschka, Laske and Georg Merkel. The exhibition concentrated on studies which the artists had used to create a particular artwork. Fried submitted the studies for his ’’Blinder Spielzeugmacher’’ (Blind Toymaker). This painting was later acquired by the Kunstverein in Jena, and the painting was later to be included in Hitler’s Degenerate Art Exhibitions or ’’entarte Kunst" in 1937/8. Also in 1930 he exhibited in Vienna in the exhibition organized by Hans Tietz ’’Die Kunst in unserer Zeit’’, alongside artists such as Picasso, Nolde, Kokoschka, Franz Marc, Kandinsky and Munch. Later in 1935 a major exhibition of his art together with work of the Austrian artist Frieda Salvendy, was staged in Prague. In 1930 the Fried’s only child Christopher was born. Studies of children and his son in particular, now become a recurring theme in his paintings and drawings. 

In 1947, after shortly leaving his first wife, Fried married Maria Englehardt. She was actively committed to social work, and the two of them were to establish an art school within the [Hudson Guild], a charitable organization in West 25 Street. It was here that he was involved in organizing exhibitions. Fried specialized in teaching etching and the techniques of woodcuts and amongst his students was the sculptor Jacques Lipchitz, with whom he had escaped from Paris to Toulouse in 1940. In 1969 his studio was largely destroyed by a serious fire, but shortly afterwards he was able to move to the newly created artist studios in the Westbeth Graphics Workshops which are in the nearby Bethune Street. In 1972 the Fried’s moved to the Old Parsonage in Otis in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, where they spent the summer months, although he continued to work and live in Greenwich Village where he died of a heart attack in July 1980. Following his death and to commemorate his close friendship with Kertész the H V Allinson Gallery in New York mounted an exhibition ’’Theodore Fried & André Kertész: An Enduring Friendship’’, which was based largely on the paintings recovered from Toulouse. In the late 1980’s the Theodore Fried Trust was established for the Fried’s artwork and to commemorate the anniversary of his birth in 2002 an exhibition was held at the Madelyn Jordon Fine Art Gallery, Scarsdale, NY, ’’Theodore Fried – A Centennial Retrospective’’. Following this paintings by Fried belonging to the trust were deposited with the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art in Tulsa, who in 2006 mounted an exhibition of his works ’’Theodore Fried: Survival of a Jewish Artist.



Galerie Hugo Heller, Vienna


Das Werden eines Kunstwerkes Gesellschaft zur Forderung Moderner Kunst in Wien


Kunsthaus Schaller, Stuttgart


Die Kunst in unserer Zeit Kunstlerhaus Vienna


Ausstellung Frida Salvendy und Theodor Fried. Kunstverein für Bohmen


Salon des Tuileries


Peintures et Dessins (1928-1935) de Th. Fried. Jeunes Peintres Association des Peintres et Sculpteurs de la Maison de la Culture Paris


Group Exhibition Pietrantonio Galleries, East Street, New York


Paintings of Theodore Fried, The Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, Massachusetts


Variations on two themes: Kites and Musicians 1926-Present by Theo Fried. Pratt Gallery


Theo Fried, Haim Mendelson, Joseph Solman, The Early Works Hudson Guild Art Gallery, West 26 Street, New York.


Theodore Fried – A Centennial Retrospective Madelyn Jordon Fine Art Gallery, Scarsdale, NY


Theodore Fried”: Survival of a Jewish Artist. Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art in Tulsa


"Bilder aus dem Koffer":Die Sammlung Fritz Grossmann und die Wiederentdeckung von Theodor Fried Zinkenbacher Malerkolonie Museum at St Gilgen, Austria


Two Pianos Musee National de Art Moderne Paris

Rockefeller Institute

Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NY

Butler Art Institute Youngstown Ohio

Walker Arts Center Minneapolis

Le Tueur de Porc Musee De Augustins Toulouse

Albertina /Belvedere, Vienna

The Jewish Museum, New York 

Victoria & Albert Museum - Etching, woodcuts & Linocuts.