The first of the day was the Vasarely Museum in District III at Szentlélek tér 6, Metro: HÉV Árpad Híd. It is open: 10am-6pm Mar 15-Oct 31, 10am-5pm Nov 1-Mar 14.
Born in Pécs, Hungary in 1906, Victor Vasarely first started his studies as a doctor, but quit after his second year. He studied art at the Podolini-Volkmann Academy in Budapest and then at Alexander Bortnyik’s Mühely Academy also in Budapest, widely recognized as the centre of Bauhaus studies. He moved to Paris in 1930. Inspired by the Bauhaus movement of Walter Gropius in 1919, he found fame as an artist after exhibiting at the Boétie Street Gallery, Paris in 1944. Dubbed as the father of Op Art in the 60s, his familiar style of creating illusionary 3D geometric shapes on flat canvases has an almost hypnotic effect.
The museum is free entry, but if you want to take photos, the photo ticket is 300 Huf, a bargain for even one photo. The collection is situated in the two-storey wing of the old aristocratic home of the Zichy family. It consists of over four hundred pieces. Many of the pieces zapped me back to the op-art of the 1970s, which was a delightful walk down memory lane. As much as I did not appreciate Op-art then or now, it is was still captivating. I do recommend this museum. Keep your photo ticket visible and tap it when the ladies in attendance start to question if you have paid your dues to snap or they will snap at you.
The next museum was Kun Zsigmond Folk Art Museum in District III at Fo” ter 4. It is only a stones throw from the first museum. One needs to look for the number, as there is a large brown door gate that leads to a courtyard. From there, the door to the museum is on the left where you ring the doorbell. They will buzz you in. As you climb the stairs to the first floor, you can start viewing the collection hanging on the walls.
This tiny museum is the private folk art collection of a man who lived to 107 years old. The collection boasts individual over 1,000 pieces. The entry was 300 Huf, but unfortunately, all I had was a 10,000 Huf note. Their cash box only held one 200 Huf note and a few coins, so I had to scrape together the entry from my change and skip the 500 Huf for the photo ticket. The woman who followed me around, whispered that I could take some pictures if I wanted. I took a couple just to show my gratitude, yet not to abuse the privilege. As the booklet that they gave me states, the museum is not arranged as a regular museum, but rather as a home showing off the treasures. There were some intriguing pieces. Taking my time looking carefully, I was still finished within 35 minutes. The woman caretaker rushed ahead of me to turn lights on in a room before I reached it and then turned them out when I left.
It was my intent to visit the Varga Imre Museum, again just a block away, but with only a 10,000 Huf bill, I knew they would not be able to cash it. The restaurants in the square were closed by this time, so there was not any convenient place to get it changed. Another day, another time.