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Collector Pakh ready to take back his Munkácsy masterpiece

The Hungarian-born American art collector Imre Pakh said in a statement on Sunday that he will have Mihály Munkácsyʼs monumental painting "Golgotha" removed from the Deri Museum in Debrecen because talks on the possible sale of the work to the state have fallen through.

 The painting is one of Munkácsyʼs famous "Christ Trilogy" and is currently on loan to the Deri Museum, where all three paintings are on display.

The Hungarian-born American art collector Imre Pakh said in a statement on Sunday that he will have Mihály Munkácsyʼs monumental painting "Golgotha" removed from the Deri Museum in Debrecen because talks on the possible sale of the work to the state have fallen through. The painting is one of Munkácsyʼs famous "Christ Trilogy" and is currently on loan to the Deri Museum, where all three paintings are on display.

The state has owned "Ecce Homo!" for years and it recently acquired "Christ Before Pilate", another of the three, from Canadaʼs Art Gallery of Hamilton for $5.7 mln, with funding from the National Bank of Hungaryʼs (MNB) program to buy national art treasures. Ferenc Gerhardt, deputy governor of the central bank, said on public television last week that the bank would pay $6 mln to acquire the painting, though Pakh is asking for $9 mln.

Pakh said in the statement that the painting would be removed on June 25. "Until then, if the opinion of the National Bank of Hungary or its deputy governor, Ferenc Gerhardt, changes, or if another government body or institution shows interest in the painting, I am at their disposal," he added. Pakh noted that Christieʼs, Sothebyʼs and Fine Art Asset Management had appraised the painting and all had put its value around 10 million dollars.