August 10, 2022

Dear Reader,

Our family bought a property in Somogy in January 2017, and since then we have become more and more aware of the beauty of this landscape, its history, and the efforts of the people living here to create the conditions for everyday life.

Somogytúr is a beautiful, peaceful village ten kilometers from Balatonlelle towards Kaposvár. It is inhabited by hard-working people, and it is a pleasure to walk through the village and see the gates and the people. It has a fine history, the community leaders are respected, self-reliant people. Two churches, a community center, a doctor's surgery, and the Lajos Kunffy Memorial Museum provide a framework for the life of the village.

It was here that we rediscovered Kunffy, a painter whose art we had noted a long time ago, but we soon realized that his recognition in today's Hungarian society (in the light of his oeuvre) was extremely modest. But in his lifetime he was "somebody": a significant personality, a respected citizen of the world, a renowned painter, and the largest landowner in the village between 1905 and 1945. As a painter, he lived his life as an esteemed member of the 'Somogy school', taking an active part in county and national artistic events. Along with József Rippl-Rónai, János Vaszary, and others, Kunffy's art is less known today, no doubt due to the fact that he was not one of the great artistic innovators of his time. His paintings were widely acclaimed at times, but after his death his social profile gradually declined and his auction appearances were not noticed. The Rippl-Rónai Museum in Kaposvár holds a large number of his paintings and the National Gallery owns several of his works. The largest collection is on display in the "Lajos Kunffy Memorial Museum" in his former residence (the collection exhibited here is also owned by the museum in Kaposvár).

Kunffy's role in the social life of Somogytúr and the wider Somogy region was significant. If we divide his presence in Somogytúr into three phases, the period up to the First World War can perhaps be considered as the period of the development of the estate and the local way of life, while the period up to the end of the Second World War can clearly be considered as the golden age. Between the two world wars, Kunffy regularly received a large number of visitors, and a significant number of artists visited his home. The losses of the Second World War and the communization of his estate made his livelihood impossible, and the last seventeen years of his life were spent in modest circumstances. His personality was absorbed by the regime, and he used it for artistic social performances in the cultural life of Somogy. Under the socialist regime, he was able to retire thanks to his influential artist friends, and his house was bought and declared a museum. This act was also a kind of political rehabilitation and a positive step that allows us to treat the exhibition of the artist's life and his main works as one.

The maintenance of the property and the running of the memorial museum have been increasingly in need of funding in recent years. Eventually, the state transferred ownership to the municipal government, which had been the trustee until then.

In 2021, we established a non-profit limited liability company to renovate the property, but as a result of our knowledge of the environment and our close relationship with the management of the collection-owning Rippl-Rónai Museum, we have signed a long-term contract with the municipality to run the museum. Under this contract, the collection has been renewed under a new curator, and modern lighting and museum equipment have been acquired.

With the launch of this website, we want to introduce the renewed Kunffy Lajos Memorial Museum and the community programs taking place there to a wider audience.


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