19th-century Art

A new permanent exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts

10 June 2013.

On 28 June a large-scale exhibition will open at the Hungarian National Gallery titled Impressionist and Post-impressionist Masterpieces by MONET, GAUGUIN, SZINYEI MERSE, RIPPL-RÓNAI from the Collections of The Israel Museum Jerusalem, the Hungarian National Gallery and the Museum of Fine Arts, which promises to be one of this year’s sensational shows. The material selected from Impressionist and Post-impressionist masterpieces of The Israel Museum Jerusalem will be augmented with works by Hungarian masters, as well as with the best pieces of the Museum of Fine Arts’ collection of Modern French painting. Putting the ten most sought after masterpieces of the Museum of Fine Arts (for example paintings by Monet, Boudin, Gauguin, Bonnard, Denis) up for loan to other museums provides us with the opportunity to substitute pictures that have been removed from the permanent exhibition with works that in the past received an undeservedly lesser role.

In the new compilation – in conjunction with the representative material of Modern French art displayed in the Buda Castle – the parallel trends from other areas of Europe are now presented to visitors in a wider spectrum. In the cabinet series of the permanent exhibition on the first floor of the museum, the entire process of the 19th-century renewal of French painting spanning from Delacroix to Toulouse-Lautrec is showcased despite some works having been loaned out. Displayed to the public in separate cabinets are two series owned by the Museum of Fine Arts from the very beginning that up to now have not been on permanent display: Josef Danhauser’s historical paintings made in the 1820s for János László Pyrker’s heroic epic titled Rudolf of Habsburg, as well as the plaster reliefs by the Danish sculptor, Bertel Thorvaldsen.

Showcased in the two large halls are works that grew out of the naturalism of the end of the century and belong to the international vortex of Symbolism and the Secession, many of which have been restored for the occasion. The artistic trends that were ground-breaking for 20th-century Modernism all over Europe are represented at the exhibition by artists from various countries (for example Arnold Böcklin, Giovanni Segantini, Franz von Stuck, Fritz von Uhde, Fernand Khnopff, Ignacio Zuloaga, and Ivan Meštrović). A larger selection is displayed of pictures conjuring up the special atmosphere and pictorial world created by some successful painters of Scandinavia, a region that grew into one of the prominent centres of art (Anders Zorn, Viggo Johansen, Pekka Halonen, Axeli Gallén-Kallela etc.). The vast majority of these works found their way into the possession of the museum, which opened in 1906, in the years just after they were made. Our being able to present a comprehensive picture of the international art of the period bears testament to the maturity of thought invested in contemporaneous acquisitions and the ability of the museum’s decision-makers of old to make sacrifices.


The curator of the exhibition is Ferenc Tóth.