Weekly Auctions of Exceptional Items
Introduction: The Judit Virág Gallery and Auction House (Virág Judit Galéria és Aukciós ház) is primarily specialised in presenting and selling high quality Hungarian paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries as well as Zsolnay ceramics. The Gallery organises three auctions yearly. On these occasions, we sell exceptional pieces of classical Hungarian painting and Zsolnay ceramics. The careful selection and the limited number of items assure that we sell artwork of an excellent quality – conferring also a fast pace to our auctions. In several cases, pieces of art were quite unexpectedly sold at highest prices ever offered at an auction. The reasons are the following. First, our Gallery maintains a constantly high standard concerning the artwork offered to potential buyers; and second, its owners have accumulated a large amount of trust capital since the establishment of the Gallery in 1997. Because numerous collections of Hungarian paintings have been amassed in various parts of the world during the last few years, besides Hungarian art collectors, several Western European and American collectors participate in our auctions, either by phone bids or by purchase mandate. Auctions are not the sole occasions to buy artwork from our firm. The Gallery possesses a special, exclusive exhibition room, where excellent paintings and Zsolnay ceramics are presented to potential buyers throughout the year. The buyers can purchase these items directly from the Gallery. We created a unique, rich database on paintings held by Hungarian private collectors; hence, we can find pieces of art, which cannot be bought by collectors participating only at auctions. Our Gallery possesses a number of high-level exhibition rooms, too, where guests and collectors can visit exclusive, thematic exhibitions. We consider that one of the tasks to be fulfilled by our Gallery is the issuing of various publications, including monographs that should have been published long ago. Hence, we participate in the elaboration of such publications and/or provide funding for them. Our Gallery fosters excellent relations with private collectors. We have a unique database, hence no significant exhibition can be organised or no important publications can be issued without the Gallery's assistance. The Judit Virág Gallery and Auction House dedicates more and more space to presenting contemporary painting. Using the opportunities created by Kortárs Galéria (Contemporary Gallery), our gallery participates in individual and collective exhibitions in order to present artists active since and work done after the 1960s. The Judit Virág Gallery offered financial support for issuing several publications, including monographs, and helped public museums to organise exhibitions by lending artwork owned by the gallery itself. The Judit Virág Gallery is one of the leading actors on the Hungarian auction market. This action house was established in 1997 by its present owners, dr. Judit Virág art historian and István Törő businessman. The gallery is located in the area where the bulk of Hungarian art trading is concentrated. The high-level gallery occupying 450 square metres on three storeys in Falk Miksa street no. 30 is one of the most beautiful exhibition rooms in Budapest. The gallery represents an important milestone in Hungarian auctioning. The first auction was held by this auction house in 1988, which meant that the gallery made a surprising and forceful entrance to the Hungarian and Central European art trading. The resounding success of this first auction can be explained by the lengthy and careful preparations preceding it, the important innovations regarding its professional management, its marketing as well as PR-activities. In the years to follow, all this became standard practice on the Hungarian auction market. According to the management of the Gallery, auctions in Hungary should be held in the same manner as this is done in any great auction house in the world – from the point of view of form and content alike. Nevertheless, the most important innovation in what concerns the content of auctions was the publication of the first Hungarian catalogue, which contained research material and data while using documents representing valuable sources for art historians.
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