József Rippl-Rónai's painting ‘The Garden of the Castle of Geszt’ broke the painter's lifetime record by hitting HUF 300 million at the winter auction of the Judit Virág Gallery in Budapest Monday evening. With this sum, the painting, painted in 1912, took second place in the Hungarian auction records after Tivadar Csontváry-Kosztka's ‘Mysterious Island’.
Rippl-Rónai's previous record was held by ‘The Woman Combing Her Hair’ for HUF 280 million. This time, the record-breaking painting in the park of the Somogygeszt castle has climbed from HUF 160 million to HUF 300 million.
This outstanding piece of Rippl-Rónai's "corn" paintings was last exhibited in 1928. After a long history and almost seven decades abroad, it has recently returned to Hungary. The painting's companion piece, ‘The Castle of Geszt in Somogy’, is kept in the Hungarian National Gallery.
Another top seller at Monday's auction was János Vaszary's ‘Alassio Beach’, which sold for HUF 165 million, just HUF five million more than the previous record holder, ‘San Remo’ from 1937.
Alassio Beach, painted in 1938 during the artist's last summer in Italy, is considered by experts to be one of the finest Italian paintings by János Vaszary. The masterpiece has been lying dormant for 80 years, until now known only from black and white photographs. Vaszary's seaside painting set a record starting at HUF 65 million, but another Italian theme painting, ‘Bazar in Viareggio’, also did well at the auction, starting at HUF 30 million and selling for HUF 46 million.