Transferring some antiques from the Hungarian National Museum, the Hungarian Parliament founded the Museum of Applied Arts in 1872 in recognition of the importance of decorative arts and design. Acquisitions increased with purchases at major world fairs, including those in Vienna in 1873 and Paris in 1878 and 1889, and gifts from Herend Porcelain Manufactory, Zolsnay, which has been producing luxury hand-painted and gilded porcelain for close to 200 years.
With the growth of the museum’s collection, a new building (see prior post) was required. The grand opening of the Art Nouveau palace in 1896 was attended by Emperor Franz Josef.
War and political changes contributed to the treasures held by the museum from the 1940s to 1960s as items were “rescued” from large houses and palaces by the Ministerial Commission for Endangered Private Collections. The Soviet takeover in 1948 led to the nationalization of numerous independent collections.
Parts of the museum were closed off when we were there this spring, as the building is being both restored and expanded following an international design competition. Renderings of the new wing can be viewed by clicking here.