Budapest is a city brimming with galleries and antique dealers, with plenty of events and exhibition openings to help you discover the Budapest art world and Hungarian culture. With a vibrant contemporary art scene, emerging up-and-coming talent, and more galleries than a visitor can reasonably visit during one stay (unless of course, you happen to arrive during Budapest ArtWeek), the capital of Hungary is any art aficionado’s dream.
Budapest Contemporary Art
Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art
Catching all the worthwhile sites of a city is always difficult, but even if time is limited, be sure to check Ludwig Museum off your list of places to visit.
Pop Art by Roy Lichtenstein and Tom Wesselmann, or a vast collection of Hungarian artworks? You’ll find both and more housed in a giant building of sunlit floors, with contemporary art overflowing on 3,300 square-meters.
Founded in 1989, the Ludwig Museum – Museum of Contemporary Art is home to over 600 artworks and several hundred deposits. Besides temporary exhibitions, guided tours and workshops, a collection of progressive Hungarian art encompassing culture from the ‘60s-‘70s (known for its Central- and Eastern European character) is also on view.
Have Fun Tip: Head to the third floor for the modern art private collection of Peter and Irene Ludwig.
Budapest Galleries & Auction Houses
Taking a walk down the iconic Miksa Falk Street, one of the most well-known Budapest art streets (and basically an antique lover’s paradise), you’ll be confronted with countless boutique galleries and local antique stores. While you’re there, a visit to both Pintér Gallery and Judit Virág Gallery is a must.
Pintér Gallery and Auction House – An Antique Lover’s Dream
Stepping inside the world of Pintér Gallery (founded in 1991), it’s easy to get lost within a gallery space of enthralling interior and objects combining both modern and classic elements. In the vast cellar of the gallery lies an impressive collection of art and antiques. Everything from paintings to grand chandeliers and furniture can be found and bought on the spot.
Focusing on 20th century, modern and contemporary art, Pintér Gallery also functions as an auction house, holding monthly bidding events. The latest auction “Balaton, Summer, Love” was held just this past August at the Vaszary Villa in Balatonfüred, including the works of prominent Hungarian artists László Mednyánszky (1852-1919), József Rippl-Rónai (1861-1927) and Imre Bak (1939).
Judit Virág Gallery – A World of Iconic Zsolnay Ceramics
If you’re already happily pacing along the tree-lined street of Falk Miksa, don’t miss out on stopping by Judit Virág Gallery, home to 19-20th century Hungarian masterpieces and Zsolnay creations (the world-renowned Hungarian manufacturer of porcelain, tiles, and stoneware). Founded in 1997, the gallery offers both the general public and collectors the opportunity to view exclusive, thematic exhibitions for free, and also organizes three auctions a year.
Have Fun Fact:
The Hungarian artist, Judit Reigl’s painting, titled “Broyage du vide” (1954), was sold for 65 million HUF at the gallery’s auction in 2018, and became the 52nd most expensive artwork sold in the Hungarian art market. Most recently, her work has also been included in the “Epic Abstraction: Pollock to Herrera” exhibition, on display at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Ernst Gallery – The Traveling Ambassador
Ernst Gallery has it all: paintings, furniture, antiques, sculptures, ceramics, and posters too. Located in the heart of Budapest, the gallery positions itself as the “travelling ambassador” of Hungarian art, focusing on introducing Hungarian painters to the international market.
The gallery’s owners have a strong passion for tracking down lost heritage, but also offer many services, including curatorial advice, cataloguing services, collection maintenance and framing.
Working together closely with museums and institutions, beyond Hungary, Ernst Gallery has also been continuously lending artworks to international institutions such as Musée d’Orsay Paris, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna Rome, Musée Matisse Le Cateau-Cambrésis, Kunstforum Wien, LA County Museum Los Angeles, and Lincoln Center New York.
Budapest Art Events
Gallery Weekend Budapest
Organized by the Association of Hungarian Contemporary Art Galleries, Gallery Weekend Budapest (GWB), is a weekend-long contemporary art festival. Held for the 5th time in 2018, visitors had the opportunity to view artworks from various generations, periods and styles.
Participating galleries includes Ani Molnár Gallery, Deák Erika Gallery, Várfok Gallery, and INDA Gallery.
Budapest ArtWeek (BAW)
Date: 14-19 April 2020
Budapest ArtWeek is the ideal time to visit Budapest for art lovers, when for one week the entire city is packed with eclectic exhibition openings, free programmes, tours and presentations from both gallery owners and represented artists, showcasing the diversity of art in Budapest and Hungarian culture.
Over 70 venues, 95 exhibitions and over 100 programs are included in the price of a weekly pass (but daily tickets are also available), making sure art is accessible to everyone.
Art Market Budapest
Date: October 3-6, 2019
The Budapest-based international art fair, Art Market Budapest, was founded in 2011, and is now Central and Eastern Europe’s leading art fair. The annually held market gives the opportunity for galleries to present their artists, and with over 30 thousand international visitors and exhibitors from over 40 countries and 5 continents, Art Market Budapest is a strong player in the European and global art scene.
+1: Get Local
Here at Have Fun Budapest, we’re also fans of under-the-radar art stores and galleries, after all, at times fine art and antiques can all get a bit overwhelming. If you’re interested in local Budapest art, up-and-coming artists, new and second-hand contemporary art publications, and independent publishers, ISBN is for you.
Set in a laid back, white space, you’ll be able to view exhibitions, take part in thought-provoking reading discussions and discover independent magazines and books. There’s also the possibility to buy unique zines, fanzines and photobooks from local artists and designers – a perfect way to end a holiday!