Showing posts with label Salgó. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Salgó. Show all posts

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Hungarian Treasure on view at the Metropolitan Museum

Chalice, 1462, Inv. 2010.109.6
As reported earlier on this blog, The Metropolitan Museum of Art has recently purchased the best objects from the collection of the late Nicholas M. Salgo. The collection includes two late medieval chalices, likely made in Hungary, as well as a large amount of goldsmith works from the 16-18th centuries, and originating from Hungary as well as from the Principality of Transylvania. From April 6th until late October 2015, the collection is on view in the decorative arts galleries of the Metropolitan Museum (just in front of the Robert Lehman Wing).

This is the information from the website of the Museum

"Nicolas M. Salgo (1914–2005), a Hungarian native and former United States ambassador to Budapest, was fascinated by the art of the goldsmith in Hungarian culture and formed his own "treasury" by collecting pieces that are individual and unique. This exhibition will celebrate the gift to the Metropolitan Museum of the major part of the silver collection assembled by this focused collector over three decades.

This large collection of silver—about 120 pieces, most dating from the fifteenth to the late eighteenth century—comprises a variety of types with especially refined appearance and high levels of craftsmanship, representing Hungarian silver at its best. The earliest works in the Salgo Collection are two rare medieval chalices ornamented with colorful filigree enamel. The intriguing shapes, inventive decoration, and historical importance of the objects—products of once-prosperous local aristocratic dynasties—make this ensemble exceptional. As a result of this generous gift, the Metropolitan Museum is now the only museum outside Hungary to possess such an array of sumptuous goldsmiths' work from the region."

The collection database of the Metropolitan Museum includes more detailed information on all the objects, as well as a large selection of photographs. You can get to this material via these links: link1 and link2.

Hexagonal dish, 1696, Inv. 2010.110.42

Let me end this post with a personal note. My family on my father's side originates from the town of Brassó in Transylvania (known as Kronstadt in German, now Brasov in Romania). It is recorded that some of my ancestors were goldsmiths - as commemorated for example in a poem by my great-grandfather, Lajos Áprily (Jékely) (you can read it here in Hungarian). Well, the Salgó collection includes a very nice beaker from the early 17th century, made by Jeremias Jekel, goldsmith in Brassó, who died in 1676 - and was thus maybe a distant ancestor of my family. 

Beaker, c. 1600, Inv. 2010.110.32

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Detail views of Salgó chalices at the Metropolitan

The Metropolitan Museum has just made available a number of detail photographs of the two medieval chalices which had recently entered the museum from the Salgó collection. Both chalices date from the mid-15th century, and are decorated with a special technique very popular in late medieval Hungary: the so called filigree-enamel. In this special variation of the cloisonné enamel, the fields of enamel are applied inside loops and shapes of filigree wire attached to the surface of the objects. You can read about medieval enameling techniques in this article (pdf) by David Buckton of the British Museum.
The two chalices are now described on the Metropolitan website as of "Central European" origin. However, the technique and details of both chalices - which can be studies on these photographs - makes their Hungarian origin quite certain - there is plenty of comparative material available, such as this chalice. More information could be gleaned from the coat of arms on the foot of one chalice, and the inscription on the cup of the other.

These are the links to the object pages:

I wrote about the Salgó collection before in two previous posts.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hungarian goldsmith objects enter the Metropolitan Museum, part II.

I could not resist - I have to include here a few other superb objects from the Salgó collection. All these have been published before in the catalog of the collection, and now appear in the Collection database of the Metropolitan Museum, as outlined in my previous post.

First here is this beautiful 16th century Hungarian belt buckle, decorated with pearls and rubies:

Belt buckle from the Salgó collection
Metropolitan Museum, 2010.110.1

Then there is a nice late 16th century silver-gilt tankard from Transylvania, made by the goldsmith Gregorius Gunesch (Nagyszeben/Hermannstadt/Sibiu). It is not illustrated in the collection database, the picture below is from the 1996 catalog.

Silver-gilt tankard from the Salgó collection
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2010.110.6

Somewhat later is one of my favorite pieces from the Salgó-collection, a spice canister from 1681, commissioned by Michael Teleki, chancellor of Mihály Apafi, Prince of Transylvania. Once again the image below is from the 1996 catalog - a brief description is given by the Metropolitan Museum collection database.

Spice canister from the Salgó collection
Metropolitan Museum, 2010.110.39

There is a lot more in the collection. I will give an update here, once more images will be added to the collection database of the museum.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Hungarian goldsmith objects enter the Metropolitan Museum

Chalice with filigree enamel
Hungary, 1462
Metropolitan Museum of Art 

One of the most important collection of Hungarian goldsmith works outside Hungary was assembled by financier Nicolas M. Salgó, former US ambassador in Budapest. Salgó collected all kinds of Hungarian art; his painting collection was donated to the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers in 2006, as you can read here.

Most important, however, is his collection of Hungarian silver, which was cataloged by an expert from the Hungarian National Museum, Judit H. Kolba. The handsome English-language catalog was first published in 1996, and is still in print (Hungarian Silver: The Nicolas M. Salgo Collection. London, 1996): see here.

The collection includes two superb medieval chalices from Hungary, both coming from the Viennese collection of Nathaniel Rothschild. One of them, dating from 1462, can bee seen on the left. Both chalices are decorated with filigree enamel, a technique which came to prominence at the Hungarian court of King Sigismund during 1420s.

In 2010, much of the collection entered the Metropolitan Museum of art, as "Gift of The Salgo Trust for Education, New York, in memory of Nicolas M. Salgo". No press release has been issued about the transfer of the objects, but most objects already appear in the collection database. 83 objects are listed in the collection of the department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts. If you go to the main search page of the museum, entering "Salgo" will provide you with the full list of these - although not all objects are illustrated at this stage. You can find beautiful objects here, such as this 17th century coconut cup seen on the right.