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Rutgers University to acquire Salgo Hungarian art collection

The Salgo Collection, considered the most-significant collection of Hungarian art outside Central Europe, will be acquired by Rutgers University.

The collection was created by the late Hungarian-American financier and diplomat Nicolas M. Salgo, and includes 350 works by more than 100 artists, including five by 19th century Hungarian artist Mihály Munkácsy. „This is such a coup for Rutgers,” said Patricia Fazekas, museum curator with the American Hungarian Foundation in New Brunswick, New Jersey. „This is the finest and biggest collection of Hungarian art outside Hungary.”

The agreement between New Jersey's state university and Long Island, New York-based Salgo Trust for Education includes money from the trust to build a storage facility at Rutgers and to digitize the collection. Rutgers in turn will create a graduate fellowship for modern Hungarian art. The collection will provide educational and research links to existing holdings of the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, on the Rutgers New Brunswick campus. Rutgers said it has one of two comprehensive Hungarian studies programs in the country. Indiana University in Bloomington has the other.

Miklós Salgo, the son of Nicolas Salgo and trustee of the Salgo Trust, said in a phone interview that he didn't know the value of the paintings involved in the gift, and declined to provide other financial details of the gift. The Salgo Trust reported on its non-profit tax returns for the fiscal year ended April 2005 that its assets included Hungarian paintings with a book value of $1.2 million. The New Brunswick area has the largest contingent of Hungarian-Americans in the country, Fazekas said. About 30,000 of the nation's 1.7 million Hungarian-Americans live in central New Jersey, she said. Many Hungarians emigrating in the early 20th century were attracted to the area by the jobs offered by Johnson & Johnson, the largest medical-device maker, which has it headquarters in New Brunswick. (Bloomberg)