Memorial Exhibition at the Rezső Haáz Museum

Following exhibitions in Salgótarján, Hódmezővásárhely, Kecskemét, and Gyula, the Gyula Benczúr Memorial Exhibition will be available for viewing in Odorheiu Secuiesc (Székelyudvarhely). The exhibition is based on the art collection of the András Jósa Museum in Nyíregyháza, supplemented by a selection of rarely seen works by Benczúr from the Hungarian National Gallery. The Nyíregyháza collection, commemorating one of the greatest figures of 19th-century Hungarian historical painting, embarked on a journey lasting nearly three years, now with a stop in Transylvania, in Odorheiu Secuiesc. The uniqueness of the exhibition arriving at the Rezső Haáz Museum lies in its presentation of Gyula Benczúr’s oil paintings, early period graphics, and personal items (including his drawing chair, painter’s cane, and palette), complemented by 12 notable paintings from the collection of the Hungarian National Gallery.

Gyula Benczúr was born in Nyíregyháza in 1844. After completing his education at the Lutheran elementary school and the Premonstratensian gymnasium, he attended the secondary school in Košice (Kassa). Between 1860 and 1861, he attended the private art school of the Klimkovits brothers, and from 1861 to 1864, he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. After completing his studies at the academy, he worked in a shared studio with Pál Szinyei Merse and Géza Salamon. Subsequently, until 1869, he was a pupil in the class of Carl von Piloty. During this period, he painted The Farewell of László Hunyadi (1866) and The Capture of Francis II Rákóczi (1869). He embarked on a study trip to Paris from Munich, where he won the state historical painting competition with his sketch titled The Christening of Vajk. From 1874 to 1875, commissioned by Louis II, he traveled to France. Following a study trip to Italy, he served as a professor at the Munich Academy from 1876 to 1883. Meanwhile, at the 1878 Paris World Exhibition, his painting The Christening of Vajk earned him a gold medal, and he was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Franz Joseph for it. With his painting Bacchante (1881), he won the Grand Prize of the Art Society. In 1883, he moved to Budapest, where he was appointed as the director of the School of Fine Arts. He became the portrait painter of the aristocratic world, painting portraits of the king, the queen, Gyula Andrássy, Kálmán Tisza, Ágoston Trefort, as well as princes, counts, and wealthy citizens. Benczúr received numerous international accolades and, on his seventieth birthday, he was elected as an honorary lifelong member of the National Hungarian Society of Fine Arts.

Although he was not among the artists aspiring to renew Hungarian painting, the quality of his artwork continues to astound viewers to this day. Critics highlight his advanced compositional skills, harmonious use of color, lifelike portrayal, and the way he represents materiality.

The Gyula Benczúr memorial exhibition in Odorheiu Secuiesc, at the Haberstumpf Villa, can be visited until June 30th, excluding Mondays. On weekdays, the exhibition is open from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. For group guided tours, please call +40266- 218375 to make a reservation.