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I am back from my fantastic trip to Budapest and the Open Evening/Private View of my first European Exhibition. Paul (my husband) and I flew out to Budapest on Thursday of last week and arrived at our hotel late in the afternoon. We stayed at the Opera Garden Hotel in the city centre and just a short walk from the State Opera House and this made it a nice central location for checking out the city. The hotel had only been open 3 days and it was a great place to stay, lovely rooms, good breakfast, great facilities and the staff were excellent. Would highly recommend it to anyone. After taking some time to chill we had dinner and an early night on Thursday in preparation for some sightseeing the next day.
On Friday we trekked off to find an Exhibition which I wanted to see at Kogart House, Andrassy Avenue. We first visited the Museum next door which was a kind of shrine to the work of Tibor Csernus and this was amazing to see. Fantastic to see his enormous easel (which he needed for some of the giant canvasses he worked on) covered in thick paint from years of work I guess, and all his brushes, paints and tools. There were also several unfinished works around and charcoal sketched pieces of possibly planned work and it is good to see where he would have started. There must have been many hours to follow to end up at his stunning final paintings.
We then went next door to the Exhibition of work by Tibor Csernus (1927- 2007). Three floors of superb paintings, mostly big canvasses and just fantastic to see them close up. I was in awe of the beautiful skin tones he had achieved on his nudes, made up from so many colours of oil paint. He tended to have very dark backgrounds and his use of light and shadows was just stunning, a fair bit of chiaroscuro going in them for sure. His later work became looser and this made them even more appealing to me, still beautifully executed but with what appeared to be quicker looser brush strokes, which from a distance where hardly noticeable. His use of colour was just so vivid, and I noticed in his studio that he had pots of natural pigment and wonder if this was partly the reason for this? Whatever, a fantastic exhibition to see and well worth a visit if you happen to be in Budapest before the end of December.
Friday evening we had dinner at a lovely, very traditional Russian/Azerbaijani/Hungarian restaurant on the same street as our hotel and this was wonderful! The lamb was to die for (sorry Katie). I have never tasted such amazing salad in my life, mine came in some kind of pomegranate dressing and I could easily get converted to eating loads of the stuff if I could get it to taste like that!
On Saturday we walked over towards Parliament to visit The House of Hungarian Art Nouveau, which was an absolute must for me with Art Nouveau being my most favourite movement in art history. This was three storeys of mostly furniture and decorative items from that period, with some paintings also, but I was in heaven… all those gorgeous swirly decorative items which just oozed class and finesse to me! Seeing this I wonder why my house is actually very modern and minimalistic!!
From the ancient we went on to the modern and the Hungarian Christmas Market for the afternoon. This was packed with people, traditional crafts, Christmas decorations and lovely smells of all sorts of home made Hungarian food. We tasted a hot amazing looking tower of pastry covered with cinnamon after watching it being made, not sure what it was called but it was just gorgeous!
We then hurried back to the hotel to prepare for the Opening Evening. Tibor Szonyi (Director of the Opera Gallery) met us at the front of the gallery and up we went in to be greeted by young ladies who took our coats and offered us hot wine (like Christmas mead) which was very welcomed when coming in from the cold. The gallery was already bustling with people and the gallery team had done a wonderful job of hanging the fairly diverse collection of work from around the world, it looked stunning.
There were 3 rooms, and in the middle of one stood a grand piano and above it fell the most gorgeous sparkling chandelier. I could tell we were in for an evening of culture and was not disappointed. First a pianist played for us and he was very talented for sure and this was a lovely start to the evening. He was followed by the beautiful Opera star Barbara Kecskes who sung like an angel and I was mesmerised by her voice.
In between music and singing the crowd then mingled and studied the art by artists from UK, USA, Romania, Brazil, Japan, Israel and Cuba. I was fortunate enough to meet the other UK artist Evelyn Chambers along with two of the Romanian artists and enjoyed chatting with Rodica Voicu (Romania) for some time and hope we will stay in touch via the Internet. We also enjoyed some nibbles and more wine.
Further into the evening us artists were interviewed by Hungarian TV and hope I can send you the link to this film when it is finalised. Then in a winding up of the evening we enjoyed delightful singing by Victoria Seres, a young musical student who sang in both Hungarian and English, which was lovely especially bearing in mind her speaking English was in fact not so good!
The evening flew by and I was sorry that it came to an end. We took lots of photos and enjoyed conversations with art lovers with whom I talked about my own work at the exhibition, as well as chatting to other artists about their own work. All in all a wonderful evening to remember.
On Sunday we took another walk around the shops and the Christmas Market and then eat at the Trofea Grill where they do an all you can eat buffet and drink (including wine and beer) for a fixed price. My husband was in seventh heaven!! It was fantastic. Great food, lots of traditional Hungarian foods like Goulash, lots of salads, vegetables and traditional starters, also a Grill where they cooked your choice of fish or meat and cooked it there in front of you, followed by lots of delightful sweets (much to my approval). I am certain I have missed loads, but again, well worth a visit.
We ended our visit to Budapest with a boat trip down the Danube at night with champagne on board and how lovely was this?! Fantastic to see all the amazing historic buildings from the river, such amazing architecture I have to say, all lit up and glowing beautifully. I took loads of photos again and played around with a long exposure and no flash on my camera which gave me some great abstracted shots too. This was a great end to our visit to this wonderful city and its lovely people.
Hope I have not bored you to tears with this lengthy epic! I did not want to skip over such a lovely trip and a very memorable occasion for me in that it was my very first European Exhibition. I have added an album of photos of the Opening Evening at my public Facebook account (Tina Ashton Art) and will add some more soon, I will also post something interesting here for you to see.
Thanks to my lovely husband for sharing these special times with me.
Best Wishes, Tina.