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The Paper Side of Art: From Leonardo to Miró Spellbound by 150 Years of Collecting Prints and Drawings

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The Paper Side of Art: From Leonardo to Miró Spellbound by 150 Years of Collecting Prints and Drawings

Michelangelo Hall - 4 June – 15 August 2021

The representative album and exhibition to mark the 150th anniversary of the Collection of Prints and Drawings present the finest prints and drawings from the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts – Hungarian National Gallery. With the exhibition and new catalogue, we jointly celebrate this prominent event and the museum’s reopening.

The Hungarian state acquired the Esterházy collection 150 years ago, in 1871. The collection, created by the princely family in the second half of the eighteenth century, was merged with other collections established earlier, thus at the moment of the sale, it comprised 3,535 drawings and 51,301 prints in addition to the paintings. In the last century and a half, this significant ensemble of works on paper has been enriched by museum experts, directors of institutions and generous donators. Now the Museum of Fine Arts has holdings of 9000 drawings and 100,000 prints, while the Hungarian National Gallery boasts a further 54,000 drawings and 31,000 other works on paper.

Our exhibition and the catalogue published to mark the anniversary seek to emphasise the development of the collection over several historical periods. Initially, the museum collection was expanded by purchasing works on paper by the great Old Masters, which were gradually supplemented with modern drawings and prints from the early twentieth century and augmented further with the acquisition of contemporary works spanning from the second half of the twentieth century to the present day.

The current exhibition presents the most delicate drawings and prints of the collection along with ones only rarely displayed. The general public can again view an exceptional work each by the following well-known masters – Dürer, Leonardo, Raphael, Rembrandt, Rubens, Goya, Miklós Barabás, Delacroix, Mihály Munkácsy, Van Gogh, Cézanne, Picasso, Schiele, József Rippl-Rónai, Lajos Vajda and Miró –, while acquainting themselves with some outstanding new acquisitions as well as works previously lesser known.

The last comprehensive selection of the finest drawings from the Collection of Prints and Drawings, titled Dürer to Dalí. Master Drawings in the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts, was published twenty-two years ago, in 1999. Now, the 150th anniversary is a perfect opportunity to revisit the history of the Collection of Prints and Drawings from a new perspective. The volume titled The Paper Side of Art. Eight Centuries of Drawings and Prints in the Collections of the Museum of Fine Arts – Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest provides a comprehensive picture of works on paper from the fourteenth to the twenty-first century: it presents Hungarian and international works on paper, drawings and prints to the reader as a closely and mutually interlinked unit. The most important problems of graphic art and the peculiar artistic approach stemming from paper are presented through 540 masterpieces. This selection also allows an insight into the work of museum staff dealing with prints and how museum research and collections operate. The volume features two contemporary artists of outstanding, international importance: Dóra Maurer and Georg Baselitz, who not only rendered their assistance in making the catalogue by sharing their thoughts on the role of drawing in their art, but also augmented the collection with generous donations on this prominent anniversary. Georg Baselitz donated thirty of his graphic sheets produced between 2000 and 2019, while Dóra Maurer enriched the collection with her thirteen-part archival pigment print titled 13 Traces, which she made in 2016.

The authors of the volume are art historians Kinga Bódi, Szilvia Bodnár, Kata Bodor, Eszter Földi, Zsuzsa Gonda, Orsolya Hessky, Zoltán Kárpáti, Mónika Kumin, Mária Madár, Zsolt Petrányi, László Százados, Bernadett Tóth, Júlia Vargyas, Ferenc Zsákovics, as well as artists Georg Baselitz and Dóra Maurer.

The volume was edited, and the exhibition material was selected by art historians Kinga Bódi and Kata Bodor.as

3400 HUF

3400 HUF

44 paperwork

44 paperwork

Open Wednesday to Sunday 10.00-17.30

Open Wednesday to Sunday 10.00-17.30

Highlights, curiosities

Dóra Maurer: 13 Traces

Dóra Maurer 2021 donated to our collection her series of archival pigment prints entitled 13 Traces. „For thirteen consecutive days, I documented the traces left on the mattress after I got up in the morning. These lines on the sheet, the creases and the imprints of my body movements are also drawings.” – she say of her work, which is on view for the first time in this exhibition.

Vilmos Aba-Novák: New York

In 1935 Vilmos Aba-Novák spent a total of four months in New York, where he made several watercolours. This view shows a glimpse of the unmistakable New York panorama as seen from the window of the studio of the photographer Martin Munkácsi. His original intention was to develop his watercolours into oil paintings, but the series was never converted onto canvas…

Miklós Barabás: Sunset in Venice

In 1834–1835, at the start of his career as an artist, Miklós Barabás travelled to Italy on a study tour. He was not a complete novice as a painter when he reached Venice, but he was still unfamiliar with the watercolour technique. Guided by his friend, the English artist William Leighton Leitch, Barabás soon mastered the technique and he continuously perfected his skills during his travels. He painted the distinctive silhouette of Venice diffusely, with a graceful hand, treating the surface of the picture as a single unit.

The Paper Side of Art: From Leonardo to Miró Spellbound by 150 Years of Collecting Prints and Drawings

4 June – 15 August 2021

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