year of establishment: 1912
city: Budapešť (Budapest)
address: Nagymező u. 8.
phone: +36 1 413 1310, 341 4355
fax: +36 1 321 6410
Post address: H-1406 Pf. 35.
A private collector, Lajos Ernst, a well-known figure of
The architect Gyula Fodor in Art Nouveau style built the
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.