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1912 Rippl-Rónai Masterpiece at the Art and Antique Fair

29 February 2024

A painting by József Rippl-Rónai that has not been seen for almost eighty years is the most valuable piece at this year's Art and Antique Budapest exhibition and fair, which starts on Thursday and will be hosted by the Bálna events center in Budapest.

     The painting, titled 'Szent Pál Fair', was painted in 1912 by József Rippl-Rónai, the most prominent Hungarian exponent of post-impressionism. "The painting has lain dormant for decades as a treasured piece of a private collection. It was first exhibited in Kaposvár in 1912, and the last time in December 1947, at a commemorative exhibition of the Ministry of Religion and Public Education in the capital, Anna Kelen, art historian of the Judit Virág Gallery, told a press conference on Wednesday.

    As she pointed out, the painting is also iconic because there are very few paintings in Rippl-Rónai's oeuvre that depict a large crowd scene. "Moreover, the artist was born during his legendary corn era. It is a style that is unique to him and which has made him sought after and recognized throughout the world."

    The painting, valued at around HUF 300 million, remains in private hands and the gallery is negotiating its sale.

    The Art and Antique Budapest exhibition and fair is open to the public from this Thursday until March 3 at the Bálna, where forty galleries will be represented with thousands of works. Exhibitors will have stands where visitors can view and buy paintings, sculptures, jewelry, special carpets, furniture and antique books.

    "This year we have a fantastic selection of both classical and contemporary material", the main organizer Ádám Tausz said at the press conference. He added that the fair would be complemented by an online charity auction, with items donated by the exhibiting galleries. The Axioart platform will be open for bidding until Sunday evening, with the proceeds going to the Opera House Ballet Students' Charitable Foundation.

    The Art and Antique exhibition and fair is being held for the sixth time this year. The first was in 1994.

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