New artworks

The new acquisitions of the Gábor Kovács Collection include nine outstanding paintings by some of the best Hungarian artists.

Simon Hollósy is not only one of the founders of the Nagybánya school of painting, but also an outstanding representative of the modern Hungarian landscape painting. His free art school in Munich trained the young masters who later established the tradition of open air (en plein-air) painting in the domestic scene. Through the sketchy representation focusing only on the essence of the form, and the fresh colors, this small picture by Simon Hollósy reflects this new attitude.

Bertalan Székely’s full length portrait of his daughter, Zseni (Jenny), is a true rarity within the œuvre. Apart from a tableau of Ignác Pfeffer’s grandchildren, already a part of the Gábor Kovács Collection and now deposited at the Hungarian National Gallery, this is the only example when the artist set the model in a natural environment.

Both Vilmos Perlrott Csaba, who hailed from Békéscsaba, and Galimberti, who died tragically young, represent a fine example of early Modernism with a French leaning. While the large, homogeneous, plane colour patch of the laundry that is hung out to dry in the sunlit yard of Galimberti’s picture, together with the work’s characteristic palette, reveal the influence of Paul Gauguin’s 1907 exhibition in Budapest, Perlrott’s Arcadian scene summarizes the lessons of Paul Cézanne’s and Henri Matisse’s painting.

One of the finest still life painters in the first half of the 19th century, János Szentgyörgyi studied in Vienna. Ferenc Kazinczy the poet held him in high regard, and visited his Pest studio in 1829, the same year when this floral composition was made. He went on to salute the painter thus: “János Szent-Györgyi may distribute his powers among all the species, but nature destined him to be a painter of Flowers and Fruits. It is to the utter credit of this high-minded gentleman that he works with love, and never could I visit him and find him idle.” 

Zsuzsa Péreli’s works constitute the largest set in the collection, enriched on this occasion with three tapestries. Although it was not conceived out of a specific picture, Bride's Man is one of the tapestries inspired by photographs. Originally made for the Malom (Mill) Restaurant, Mosonmagyaróvár, the whereabouts of the composition entitled Grove were unknown for many years. Like other pieces of the nostalgic series from the 1980s that drew its inspiration from archival photographs, this work employs subdued, muted colours, and a planar representation, harmonically evoking the cosy atmosphere of small family restaurants. It also represents a transition towards the style of the next period: Péreli’s colours became brighter, more vivid in the 1990s, the forms more plastic, with the figures and scenes placed in spaces that were constructed along the rules of perspective. Axis Mundi, the other new acquisition, encapsulates these qualities in an advanced form, though it is its original history that makes it truly unique: in this tapestry, which Péreli wove for the Pauline-Carmelite Monastery of Sopronbánfalva, the artist incorporated the yarn that had been used by the last nun of the monastery.

With Fisherman, Vienna-trained Pál Böhm recast the mythological and biblical scenes Károly Markó the Elder would represent in antique environments into the scheme of a country genre, to cater for the taste of his bourgeois customers. Markó’s The Calling of Peter, now in the Gábor Kovács Collection, probably served as a model for this composition; a version was part of the Kaiser’s collection, and as such was on public view, and could be copied, in the Hofburg.

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Khoor, József

Romantic Landscape

Year: 1868

Technique: Oil

Material: Wood

Size: 41 × 58 cm

Hollósy, Simon


Year: 1910s

Technique: Oil

Material: Canvas

Size: 35 × 43 cm

Székely, Bertalan

Portrait of Zseni Székely

Year: circa 1880

Technique: Oil

Material: Canvas

Size: 189 × 102 cm

Szentgyörgyi, János

Still Life with Flowers

Year: 1829

Technique: Oil

Material: Canvas

Size: 47,5 × 35,5 cm

Péreli, Zsuzsa

Axis Mundi

Year: 2010-2011

Technique: Gobelin

Material: Wool, silk, metal, gold

Size: 180 × 140 cm

Péreli, Zsuzsa


Year: 1988

Technique: Gobelin

Material: Wool

Size: 170 × 80 cm

Péreli, Zsuzsa

Bride's Man

Year: 1983

Technique: Gobelin

Material: Wool, silk, chenille, ribbons

Size: 110 × 80 cm