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Painter. Born Wilmos Bela Sandorhaji at his family estate in Sandorhaji, Hungary in 1882. Darling studied art for eight years at the Royal Academy of Budapest followed by further study in Paris at Ecole des Beaux-Arts. After immigrating to the U.S. in 1910, he established a reputation as a portrait painter in New York City. At the beginning of WWI, he settled in Los Angeles and, due to anti-German sentiment, changed his Hungarian name to William S. Darling. He then began a thirty-year career as supervising art director for 20th Century Fox Studios, winning three Oscars and several nominations for his settings.
During his leisure he began painting landscapes en plein air as well as nocturnal cowboy and Indian scenes à la Frank Tenney Johnson. Darling maintained homes in Palm Springs and Laguna Beach where he derived much of his subject matter. He also made many painting forays into the Southwest. He died in Laguna Beach on December 15, 1963.
Member : Laguna Beach Art Association (President); Desert Art Center, Palm Springs (President).
Exhibited : Laguna Festival of Arts annuals.
Works held : National Gallery, Hungary (self portrait).
Source : Hughes, Artists of California, 134.