A gallery mostly in metal drawers

The Cifrapalota and the Kecskemét Art Gallery

The town councillors decided to have the Cifrapalota constructed 1901. For economic reasons it was designed to perform different functions on each level. There were shops for rent on the ground floor, the first floor housed society rooms and the Trade Casino’s ceremonial hall (The Peacock Room), while the top floor had apartments. The façade of the building is characterised by Hungarian Art Nouveau and also features characteristic Renaissance elements found in Upper Hungary (today Slovakia). This is also true for the interior, although these stylistic features appear in a far more reserved way. After World War II the building was used as a trade union centre until 1983 when, following restoration and conversion as a museum, the Kecskemét Art Gallery opened. The first paintings are associated with the name of Marcell Nemes, a prominent art collector who regarded decentralisation as a way of keeping culture alive. When the gallery was founded in 1911 Nemes offered eighty pictures, including works by Mihály Munkácsy, Károly Lotz, Bertalan Székely, Károly Ferenczy and Lajos Gulácsy. Nemes also wanted to take a hand in setting up the Kecskemét Colony of Artists. With regard to the quality and size of the gallery’s collection, it has a high standing among collections of fine arts and design among provincial Hungarian museums. It was the 30th anniversary of the artist’s death. This summer a selection of the Art Gallery’s collection will be presented at the Vaszary Villa in Balatonfüred. This year the gallery’s own exhibition has been spectacular and it is far easier to devise a good, decorative presentation of early 20th-century, works than a contemporary art show. Regular sessions of museum education could be very successful if they were included in the school curriculum.