Budapest (MTI) – The National Bank of Hungary (NBH) spent 8.7 billion forints (EUR 28m) on art treasures over the past year and a half as part of its art collection programme, deputy governor Ferenc Gerhardt said on Monday.
The central bank made art purchases “on a historic scale” in recent months, Gerhardt told a press conference at the National Gallery. The works it purchased will be put on public display, he added.
The NBH announced its 100 million euro programme to buy Hungarian art treasures under foreign ownership in January 2014. The programme will run until the end of 2018.
Gerhardt noted that the central bank has so far purchased works by the likes of Titian, Mihaly Munkacsy and Lajos Gulacsy. Other items purchased by the NBH include a collection of weapons and a collection of silver coins.
In response to a question on the purchase of Munkacsy’s painting “Golgotha”, belonging to the famous “Christ Trilogy”, Gerhardt reiterated that the central bank is willing to pay 6 million dollars for the painting, adding that the painting possibly having a co-owner alongside Hungarian-born American art collector Imre Pakh may complicate the purchase.
Laszlo Baan, director of the Museum of Fine Arts, said the bank’s programme has opened up a “new universe” for public collections.