A COLLECTION of 140 works by painter Ladislav (or László, in Hungarian) Mednyánszky, one of the most sought-after Slovak-born artists – individual works of his have attracted the highest prices of any Slovak artist at auction – is currently being exhibited at Bratislava’s SOGA auction house prior to being auctioned on May 29.
Július Barczi, curator of the exhibition Mednyánszky from the Private Collection of Leo Ringwald, told the Hospodárske Noviny daily that the exhibition has drawn a lot of foreign attention and that its assessed value exceeds €1 million. The most valuable paintings, like Spútaný (Chained) or Stromy pri rieke v zime (Trees near River in Winter), are valued at €50,000 to €55,000.
“It would be best if the collection was preserved as a whole; if someone bought it as a whole,” Barczi said. “But this will probably not happen, unfortunately, as even the Slovak National Gallery (SNG) – where it should logically end up – does not have the resources to buy it whole.”
The works exhibited include, for instance, Mednyánszky’s paintings from the era of symbolism, but also works focused on death, new life and inspired by theosophy and alternative religions of the artist’s era.
Although born in the Slovak municipality of Beckov, then part of the Habsburg Empire, Mednyánszky (1852-1919) spent long spells in Paris, Vienna, Rome and Budapest. The paintings from this collection, put together by Ringwald, who was his lawyer, were originally located in Trenčín.
However, the Ringwald family was forced as a result of politics to leave Slovakia and settled in Great Britain.
“The collection is still very mysterious, although we have studied it for several months,” Barczi said. According to him, there was communication between the Ringwald family and the SNG – SNG employees contacted his son Richard in the 1970s, wishing to exhibit and even buy the collection from him but the project failed. Although Leo Ringwald died 44 years ago, the full collection surfaced only three years ago. Part of it was bought by collectors from Hungary who have now offered it for exhibition and auction in Slovakia, as it originated here.
Thus, at least for now, Mednyánszky has returned home.
14. May 2012 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff