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Unique Zsolnay Sculpture Could be Auctioned for an Incredible Price

Hungary Today 2024.05.18.

The auction of over 1,500 items will be held by the Nagyházi Gallery and Auction House between May 28 and June 1, reports Index. The items will range in price from HUF 20 to 36 million (EUR 51,405- 92,813) for paintings, furniture, jewellery, and other works of art. The main lot is a record-breaking Zsolnay sculpture made for the Turin International (world’s fair held in Turin in 1911).

The Nagyházi Gallery and Auction House’s spring auction will include Renaissance and Baroque paintings from the 15th to 17th centuries, bronze sculptures and reliefs, as well as works by renowned 20th century Hungarian painters such as József Rónai Rippl, Béla Czóbel, Béla Kondor, and Gyula Hincz.

In keeping with the collecting conventions of the time, the collection mixes works of universal art, with an emphasis on Italian and Central European old masters, with works by prominent representatives of Hungarian national painting.

The ominous Zsolnay ceramic was listed in the catalogue as the “Girl Sitting on a Buffalo” (“Bivalyon ülő lány”), with an auction price of HUF 36 million (EUR 92,813).

The sculpture was designed by Miklós Ligeti for the Turin International, where it won the grand prize.

“The truth is, I am not sure if this is the statue. No one but the collector knew it existed,” said Lőrinc Nagyházi, managing director, at a press event prior to the auction. The gallery, however, received a photo of an archive document with the sculpture, showing the Zsolnay factory’s parameters for the statue, all of which match the lot at the auction. This further supports the assumption that it is probably a piece made for the World Fair.

Turin. Photo via Pixabay.

It is particularly interesting that they do not make Zsolnays of this size today.


Zsolnay, or formally Zsolnay Porcelánmanufaktúra, is a Hungarian porcelain, tile, and stoneware company. It introduced the eosin glaze process and pyrogranite ceramics. The Zsolnay factory was founded by Miklós Zsolnay (1800-1880) in Pécs, southwestern Hungary, in 1853, for the production of stoneware and other ceramics. In 1863, his son Vilmos Zsolnay (1828-1900) joined the company, and a few years later he became its manager and director. He led the factory to worldwide recognition by demonstrating its innovative products at world fairs and international exhibitions, including the 1873 Vienna World’s Fair, then at the 1878 Paris Exposition, where Zsolnay received a Grand Prix.

There will also be other curiosities at the auction. The “Golden Team” (“Aranycsapat”) played the “match of the century” against England at Wembley Stadium in London on November 25, 1953, in which the Hungarian national eleven led by Ferenc Puskás triumphed.

The score of 6:3 will sound familiar to most Hungarians.

During the post-match celebrations, the team members signed a guest book, along with their wives’ signatures. In addition to their signatures, those of the diplomats and delegates of the time can also be found in the book. The starting price of the guest book is HUF 600,000 (EUR 1,547).

The “Golden Team.” Gyula Lóránt, Jenő Buzánszky, Nándor Hidegkúti, Sándor Kocsis, József Zakariás, Zoltán Czibor, József Bozsik, László Budai II, squatting: Mihály Lantos, Ferenc Puskás, Gyula Grosics. Photo via Fortepan / Erky-Nagy Tibor

Those interested can view the artifacts at the pre-auction exhibitions from May 17-18, and May 21-26, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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Via Index; Featured image via Facebook/Nagyházi Galéria és Aukciósház

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