The “Művészház” 1909-1914. Modern Exhibitions in Budapest

- 27 March 2009 - 26 July 2009


The association of artists called the Artists’ House (“Művészház”) was operating from December 1909 to April 1914 in Budapest, and during its short existence it organized a range of significant exhibitions of the prominent Hungarian and international representatives of modern arts. Visitors could see the classics of Hungarian painting, impressionist works held by Hungarian private collectors and the most recent aspirations of French, German and Hungarian artists. Austrian artists appeared several times in the Artists’ House (Klimt, artists of the Wiener Werkstätte) and the most prominent Hungarian painters of the time demonstrated their works in the framework of large individual exhibitions (e.g. József Rippl-Rónai). The main objective of the organisation was to support new initiatives, thus its artistic programme was mainly focused on the introduction of many young artists with a large variety of individual collections. The association was a pioneer in organizing annual jury-free exhibitions providing an opportunity to artists rejected by other institutions to exhibit, and this initiative started the careers of many avant-garde artists. However, the program of the Artists’ House was not limited to modern fine arts only, thus it also presented Japanese woodprints and African tribal sculpture at the “Oriental exhibition” and works of photographers and poster artists at the “Decorative Art Exhibition” in 1913. In addition to it’s exhibition organizer function, which also included exhibitions in the countryside, the Artists’ House published a magazine, established a free art school, and great figures of the spiritual life of the era gave lectures in the framework of it’s educational programme.

The activities and the significance of the Artists’ Houses is still not widely known among the public. The exhibition of the Hungarian National Gallery unveils and presents the activities of this institution, which played a significant role in the development and public acceptance of modern art. The works once presented in these exhibitions are now held in private collections or in foreign museums. The objective of the exhibition is to show as much of these works as possible to provide an overall picture of Artists’ House. The historical analysis of the Artists’ House not only supplements a missing chapter in Hungarian art history but also reveals new information about the art of the era in an international context. The exhibition will place special emphasis on the artistic institutions, art organizers and art critics of era, especially on the role of Miklós Rózsa, the founder and director of the Artists’ House.

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