The Hungarian-born American art collector Imre Pákh told news agency MTI that he would not take measures to remove Mihály Munkácsy’s monumental painting “Golgotha” from a Debrecen gallery until the end of the summer. Earlier, Pákh said the painting would be removed from the Déri Museum on June 25, after talks on its sale to the state of Hungary reached an impasse.
The National Bank of Hungary (MNB) is willing to pay 6 million dollars to acquire “Golgotha” but Pákh is asking 9 million. Pákh said talks with the MNB on the painting’s purchase are “at a standstill”. “Nobody is negotiating with me, but I still hope that we can resolve this problem.” A second round of talks with the central bank took place on May 28, he noted. He said he considered the state’s recent decision to list “Golgotha”, effectively preventing its removal from the country, as a positive development. “It shows the government is finally taking the fate of the painting seriously,” he said.
“I’ll soon get a legal opinion, but the process of listing ‘Golgotha’ will probably turn out to be completely illegal. It appears certain that we can bring the matter to trial in the United States or Germany, or even Hungary, but I would like to avoid such trials,” he said, adding that leaving the painting where it is for another two and a half months would give MNB officials more time for talks. “I am committed to allowing as many Hungarians as possible to see Munkácsy’s paintings. I didn’t buy ‘Golgotha’ to keep it in my home, but if an agreement is not reached, I will be forced to take legal measures in the matter.”
Cabinet Chief János Lázár told a government press briefing that the Hungarian government is still ready to buy the painting, as “it should be public property”. He added, however, that Hungary “relies on the generosity” of Pákh and added that funds for the purchase were limited.
via MTI and hungarymatters.hu photo: biblia.hu