Ernst Múzeum

year of establishment: 1912
city: Budapešť (Budapest)
address: Nagymező u. 8.
ZIP: H-1065
phone: +36 1 413 1310, 341 4355
fax: +36 1 321 6410
e-mail: mucsarnok@mucsarnok.hu
www: www.mucsarnok.hu

notes:
Post address: H-1406 Pf. 35.

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A private collector, Lajos Ernst, a well-known figure of Budapest society, founded the Ernst Museum in 1912 at the time, with the aim of making his artistic and historic collection accessible to the general public. The institute was founded as a result of this intention to patronise the arts and, during the last century, it became one of the most significant exhibition spaces for 20th century Hungarian visual arts.



The architect Gyula Fodor in Art Nouveau style built the Ernst Museum in 1912. The building, now listed as a historic monument, originally had a cinema on the ground floor, which is now used by the Budapest Chamber Theatres' Tivoli Theatre. The first floor housed the private collection and was open as a museum; above it are two floors of private flats and the top floor consists of artist' studios.



Special care was taken over the designing of the museum space. The entrance is adorned with copies of renaissance relief portraits of King Mattheus, patron of the arts, and his wife. The black marble seats on the staircase were designed by architect Ödön Lechner and the patterns on the walls, originally painted in different colours, by applied artist Elek Falus. Falus also designed the row of small interior coloured windows, while the large window was conceived by the painter József Rippl-Rónai.



As a collector, Lajos Ernst was interested in old as well as modern Hungarian fine art, applied art and architecture and was guided in his museum by his wish to show the continuity of Hungarian art. Besides the permanent exhibition, he also organised temporary ones, showing the work of his most outstanding contemporaries (such as Paul Szinyei Merse for the museum opening) and using material from private collections at home and abroad. (Gedeon Gerlóczy's Csontváry paintings were first shown here in 1930.) He also organised readings and musical programmes - for Béla Bartók among others - and published artists' monographs. From 1917, Ernst also organised auctions which made him and his work a reputation abroad.



After the death of Lajos Ernst (1937) the uniquely rich and professionally treated collection was sold in 1939. After the Second World War in 1950, Ernst's former museum was attached to the galleries and provided a space for occasional contemporary art exhibitions.



Ernst Museum, now part of Műcsarnok, hosts projects - thematic, solo and group contemporary art exhibitions - that quickly and flexibly reflect on the social and urban environment.