A painting by 20th century Hungarian constructivist László Moholy-Nagy represents the highest-value private donation of an artwork granted to a Hungarian museum since the country’s post communist transformation, László Baán, the director general of the Hungarian National Gallery, said.
The painting entitled Architektur I or Konstruktion auf blauem Grund (Construction on a Blue Ground) has been granted by the New York-based The Salgo Trust for Education, and its market value is estimated to be several billion forints, Baán told a press conference. The donation also fills a gap because before this Hungary had no Moholy-Nagy paintings from the years following his emigration in 1919, he added.
László Moholy-Nagy’s Architektur I or Konstruktion auf blauem Grund (Construction on a Blue Ground) can be seen in the National Gallery of Budapest from April 13.
Curator of Salgo Trust for Education Olivér Botár Jr said the painting had been sought after by such institutions as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and The Art Institute of Chicago, but the foundation believed it would be best displayed in Hungary. The work from 1921 is probably Moholy-Nagy’s first constructivist painting, he added. Baán said the painting would be on display at the National Gallery from Friday.
Hungarian-born US businessman Nicholas M Salgo was US Ambassador to Hungary between 1983 and 1986 and he set up the foundation in 1991 to attract international attention to 20th century Hungarian art.
László Moholy-Nagy was a Hungarian painter and photographer. He was highly influenced by constructivism and a strong advocate of the integration of technology and industry into the arts. He had Hungarian ancestry but he left Hungary when he was 25 in 1920. The first part of Moholy-Nagy’s career was spent largely in Germany, where he taught at the Bauhaus and developed his practice, pushing the boundaries of then-new photographic processes and experimenting with industrial materials rarely used in fine art. After Hitler came to power, Moholy-Nagy fled the country, eventually settling in Chicago. There, he directed the New Bauhaus and subsequently founded the School of Design (what is now the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology). He died he died of leukemia at the age of fifty-one.
images via Balogh Zoltán/ MTI