The Wende Museum Acquires 25 Significant Works of Art From Communist-Era Hungary
Budapest Auction Benefits Victims of Red Sludge
Los Angeles (December 7, 2010)—The Wende Museum purchased 25 significant works of Communist-era Hungarian art at a December 6 auction at the Pinter Gallery in Budapest, Hungary.
“This is The Wende’s first major effort to archive important works of art and culture from Communist-era Hungary,” said The Wende’s Executive Director and Founder Justinian Jampol.
The high-profile auction offered works of art which had been buried in the basement of the Ministry of Justice in Budapest since the fall of communism in 1989. Proceeds are to benefit victims of the October 4 toxic red sludge in Western Hungary that killed 10 people and left hundreds injured and homeless.
The Wende, the largest archive of Eastern European visual materials of the Cold War era, acquired nearly 25% of the auction’s 102 items. “The works are representative of an extinct era in world history and are increasingly being used by artists, students and scholars to explore our collective past and inform our present,” said Jampol.
The Wende’s acquisitions include political paintings, drawings, watercolors, lithographs, sculptures and folk art with themes ranging from depictions of deposed leaders in bronze and marble to agricultural and industrial scenes painted by renowned Hungarian artists.
Ljiljana Grubisic, The Wende’s Director of Collections and Public Programs, added that “The museum’s participation in the auction is the first step in establishing contacts with peer institutions in Central Europe.”
The Wende will contribute more than one-third of the $65,000 raised to benefit the sludge victims. The proceeds will be given to Caritas, a Catholic charity, to assist residents of Kolontar, Devecser and Somlovasarhely—the three towns in western Hungary devastated by 184 million gallons of highly caustic waste water and mud deposited from a break in an aluminum plant’s reservoir.
“The fact that our acquisitions are connected to a humanitarian cause has profound meaning to The Wende and its primary funder, British-based Arcadia Fund, which supports endangered culture and nature,” added Jampol. “Our museum is dedicated to a period in history marked by pain and dislocation, even death—conditions that marked the October 4 tragedy in Hungary.”
The Wende Museum is located at 5741 Buckingham Parkway, Suite E, in Culver City, California. The museum’s collection contains design objects, works on paper, ceramics, paintings, sculptures, posters, furniture, textiles, films and books that document life, expression and political developments in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union during the Cold War in the aftermath of World War II.
The Museum is open to the public every Friday from 10 AM to 5 PM and by appointment. Admission is free. For more information please call 310-216-1600 x304 or go to www.wendemuseum.org.