Masterworks – A New Selection From the Gábor Kovács Collection


Date: 13/October/2006 - 01/December/2006

The display presents almost 150 outstanding pieces from the collection Gábor Kovács has been building for 15 years.

Opening speech of László Tolcsvay:


What do you collect? Why do you collect? You collect experiences, feelings, knowledge, friends, possessions - innumerable tangible things and ones that only the spirit can sense. This collection is what constitutes your life. This is what you try to arrange, line up, classify, and transform in your soul, so that you can build your own individual existence, the reason for this time on Earth. If this is how you look at human life, then everyone is in truth a collector. We collect spiritual and material supplies.

It does matter which shelf of your soul you use to store your collection. It does matter which experience, mosaic of knowledge or feeling - which gem of your spiritual treasures - you have at hand to answer a question life poses. And at the end of the journey, the true value of your entire collection will be revealed to you.

A unique case of collection is when the joy of discovery, the thrill of looking for rarities, the ecstasy of the find, become a passion. Its motive force relies on a balance of instincts, talent, knowledge, education, playfulness, luck, perseverance and patience. This is what makes the collection personal and individual. This is what makes it enduring.

Accessing such a collection, whether at an exhibition or in virtual reality, gives rise to the hope of getting to know the collector. Because this selection is informed by the personality. We can wonder at his intentions, intuit his thoughts and feelings. We can get closer to his soul. A great opportunity.

Those who have visited Gábor Kovács in his home or at the Bank Centre know that before discussing the matter at hand, he will show his latest treasures. Not only because he is proud of them, but also because he is ready to open up. They are his calling card. He might as well say: “Look, there I sit at that table, in that company; there I stand on that summit, listening to the rustle of leaves; there I am in the blossoming spring; there I fly with that angel.” This is the most important. Because he does not merely see the aesthetic in the works of art, but he responds with his soul, looking for a lead through which he can enter into an alliance with the spirit of the artist. This is why we can claim his collection is more than a mere pastime. In addition to the original affinity, he has been building a very conscious collection, for a long time. He does so while not giving up on the joy of the free spirit, the committed respect for beauty. Among other things, it is the fruit of his passion that several of the works by Hungarian artists which are now his prized gems were previously latent in foreign collections.

This collection allows us to get close to the soul of the collector. The paintings, sculptures, tapestries and graphic works are now the messengers of Gábor Kovács, which allow him to show us his feelings, experiences, knowledge and thoughts. And if you listen carefully, you may find that through these works of art he will answer questions he would not answer in an everyday conversation.

So we should not only look at these masterworks with attention, an open soul and sensitivity, and delight in the greatness of their creators, but we should also accept them as something that allows us to understand the original vector of the collector’s passion. With an open heart, we may sense the mystical power that attracted him to these works of art, that makes him want to live with them. Let us gather the wonder that radiates from these pictures and reaches us. Let us sense the spiritual field that had such an effect on their owner. And then we can realize Gábor Kovács collects not only for himself. Should this not be the case, he would keep his pictures in a safe, and would look at them on his own, with some great wine reserved for the purpose.

Luckily, this is not how things stand. He is passionate about showing us his treasures. With the honesty of a child, he delights in, and dreams about, the prized pieces of the collection, again and again, every time he shows them to the initiated viewer. With invisible spiritual fluids, he spins the filaments that attach his soul to a work of art. On such occasions, he is dreaming awake.

One of the most attractive manifestations of his dreams come to life is KOGART. Gábor Kovács founded this establishment to provide a worthy scene for the enjoyment of art. The power and faith that created this citadel of art on Andrássy Avenue, in Budapest, Hungary, Europe - he fostered these in his soul with the uplifting, thought-provoking, delightful radiation of the works of art.

A brilliant achievement. Let us express our gratitude!

Interestingly, and not incidentally, I was in Florence when Gábor first asked me to open a comprehensive exhibition for which he himself selected the works from the collection. Florence, the city of Cosimo and Lorenzo Medici. The city that is almost exclusively about art. The capitol of Tuscany is in effect a vast collection - of talent, humanity, beauty and the creativity of humankind. A visit there is an uplifting experience because the soul and spirituality of the creators have remained – carved in stone, painted on the wall, towering as a campanile. This city is the absolute testament to how only art can survive the inevitable passage of historical epochs. This is why it is a sign of wisdom to use art and culture as a means to open one’s will, talent and wealth towards universality: it is a way of building, creating, delighting and bringing succour to the soul - and hence a way of creating real wealth. For all of us. Whether in Florence, Budapest or Kakasszék.

Such a real collector will know and profess that art is eternal.

Visitors' information: 

1062 Budapest, Andrássy út 112.