Budapest, March 10 (MTI) – The Hungarian-American Imre Pákh will sue over the listing of a painting he owns that is on loan to the Déri Museum in Debrecen, in eastern Hungary, the art collector told MTI by telephone on Wednesday.
As long as the painting is listed under national protection, it will remain out of view of the public in Debrecen, Pákh said, speaking from New York. Pákh added that he has a permit from Hungary’s authority for the protection of national heritage to remove the painting from the museum, but he has no plans to do so.
Hungary’s authority for the protection of national heritage recently declared “Golgotha”, a monumental painting by the Hungarian master Mihály Munkácsy, a listed work of art, preventing its removal from the country without a permit and giving the state pre-emption rights for its purchase.
The declaration, which may not be appealed, was issued after Pákh contested the first declaration listing the “Golgotha” last year.
Pákh ordered the painting to be veiled from public view last year after failing to reach an agreement on its sale to the state of Hungary.
The painting belongs to Munkácsy’s famous “Christ Trilogy”, all three of which hang in the Déri Museum. The state has owned “Ecce Homo!” for years and it recently acquired “Christ Before Pilate”, another of the three, from Canada’s Art Gallery of Hamilton for 5.7 million US dollars, with funding from the National Bank of Hungary’s programme to buy national art treasures.
The central bank earlier indicated it was willing to pay 6 million dollars to acquire “Golgotha”, but Pákh asked for 9 million dollars. Pakh’s offer included the loan of all 52 Munkacsy paintings in his collection for a period of twelve years as well as pre-emption rights for the works.