History of Hopp Museum
Our museum was founded in 1919 by Ferenc Hopp (1833-1919), a company owner, world traveller, art collector and patron, in whose last will and testament the state was left an Asian collection of some 4,000 pieces in order to establish a museum of Asian art. The collection was placed and exhibited in the owner’s villa on Andrássy Road, which has operated as a museum since 1923. It was the only museum of Asian art in Hungary at the time of its foundation and retains that position even today. The garden laid out around the villa was recognised as a curiosity with an Oriental atmosphere in Pest at the time, and even today it forms an organic part of everyday life at the museum since it provides the venue for a great many of our events.
Ferenc Hopp purchased his works of Asian art during his travels around the world and at major world fairs. Absorbed by his interest in Asian arts, during developing his collection Ferenc Hopp drew on the advice of the young art historian Zoltán Felvinczi Takács, who later became the first director of the museum that was established around this collection. After the museum was founded the collection grew through donations, purchases and the transfer to its building of Asian material from other museums. Today the collection consists of some 30,000 artefacts originating from China, Japan, India, South East Asia, Nepal, Tibet, Mongolia, Korea and the Near East.
The archaeologist, Tibor Horváth (1910–1972), appointed director of the museum in 1948, embarked on processing the collection, aided by outstanding experts, including several philologists with degrees in oriental studies. The museum was now divided into regional collections.
Our museum has its own reference library, the only one in the country that specialises in Asian art, as well as the only documentation department with the same profile, which not only conserves the documentation of our exhibitions and other activities but also the valuable archive photographic and documentary material relating to Orientalism, the history of collecting Oriental art, as well as to travellers and journeys to Asia.
The Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts houses temporary exhibitions that seek to present the entirety of our Asian collection by focusing on a different theme every time. A more comprehensive presentation of our collection will be realised within the framework of a planned permanent exhibition.
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