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Golgotha Saga: Monumental Munkácsy Masterpiece Remains In Debrecen, Hungary

Tamás Székely 2017.07.13.

Hungarian-born American art collector Imre Pákh said he had no intention of selling Golgotha, a monumental painting by the Hungarian 19th century master Mihály Munkácsy that the state of Hungary has eyed for years, in an interview published by conservative daily Magyar Idők on Thursday.

Golgotha by Mihály Munkácsy (1844-1900) – photo:

Golgotha will be on “permanent display” at the Déri Museum in Debrecen, in eastern Hungary, Pákh told the paper, in light of a recent ruling by Hungary’s Supreme Court, the Kúria, concerning the listing of the painting. “With the knowledge of the Kúria’s  decision, I removed the curtain [concealing the painting from public view] and have no intention of putting it back, for the time being, as the court has affirmed, entirely or in part, our position,” Pákh told the paper.

Earlier in the week, the Kuria ordered a repeat hearing of the case in which Pákh’s appeal against the listing of Golgotha was rejected. Pákh appealed the listing which prohibited the removal of the work from Hungary and gave the state pre-emption rights for its purchase. State authorities listed Golgotha, part of Munkácsy’s Christ Trilogy, shortly after Pákh said the painting would be removed from the Déri Museum, where it is on loan, displayed with its state-owned counterparts Ecce Homo! and Christ Before Pilate.  The National Bank of Hungary (MNB) had earlier offered to buy the painting for the state, but Pákh had refused the asking price.

Imre Pákh told Magyar Idők that although he had no plans to sell Golgotha, this did not prevent any potential buyers from making offers for it.”Golgotha is an extraordinary painting which attracts rich collectors if it leaves Debrecen and is displayed in Budapest or Vienna, for example. Potential buyers immediately make an offer for what they see with their own eyes,” he said. “Golgotha has its place in Debrecen, as part of the Munkácsy Trilogy,” Pákh told the paper, pointing out that he had purchased the painting exactly for the reason to prevent that its previous owner could sell it to an American art collector. He bought the painting in 2003.

via and MTI