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André Kertész's 130th Birthday Celebrated with 3 Exhibitions

11 March 2024

To commemorate the 130th anniversary of the birth of the world-famous Hungarian photographer André Kertész, the Hungarian National Museum will organize a series of exhibitions between March 23 and September 22 in Esztergom and two venues in Budapest.

    A selection of Kertész's photographs purchased from New York in 2021 will be on display, allowing the public to see never-before-seen photographs at the Balassa Museum in Esztergom, the Hungarian National Museum in Budapest and the Robert Capa Center.

    After his emigration to Paris in 1925, André Kertész returned to Hungary several times and opened several exhibitions, where he liked to recall his youthful memories. In Szigetbecse, a memorial museum has also been created in his name, using the pictures he donated to Hungary shortly before his death.

    This time, the focus of the Hungarian National Museum's exhibition series is not on the artist who reminisced, but on the young man born in Budapest on July 2, 1894, who spent much of his childhood in Teleki Square and later in Népszínház Street, and spent much time with his relatives in Szigetbecse and Tiszaszalka, traveling as a soldier in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and then moving to Paris at the age of 31. The museum's series of exhibitions aims to give visitors an insight into the background of this departure.

    The 2021 sale of the André Kertész Photographic Collection included a total of 1,163 images taken before 1925, including 943 contact prints, 59 large-scale vintages, 151 Polaroids, nine personal photographs and one collage. Following the purchase, the Hungarian National Museum carried out a condition survey of the photographs and the material was registered by Éva Fisli, historian and museologist at the Historical Photographic Collection. Over the past decade, the museologist has had several opportunities to research the Kertész archive in France, and the material found there has helped to clarify inaccuracies about the photographer's youth. This is what Éva Fisli has undertaken as curator of the exhibition.

    The first two exhibitions will show early vintage prints. Some of these extraordinary tiny images have been exhibited before, but the richness of André Kertész's early years in Hungary has never been presented in this way. You will also be able to see the early copies in their original state, with the help of contemporary enlargements and projections.

    The exhibition André Kertész in Esztergom will be on show from March 23 in the town's newest exhibition space, the Balassa Museum, an affiliate of the Hungarian National Museum, until June 23. From June 22 to September 22, a selection of rare images by the young Kertész will be on display at the Hungarian National Museum, under the title Kertész/Copies, and finally, from July 2, the public will be able to see Polaroids of the elder Kertész at the Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center in the Hungarian capital.

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