photo: Gyula Czimbal (MTI)

Zsófia Végvári – Eötvös Loránd University, Doctoral Candidate of Art History

Zsófia Végvári was born in 1974 in Miskolc. Thanks to her parental background, her love of art and paintings had already developed in her childhood, with the renowned art historian Lajos Végvári as her father and the painter Ágnes Máger as her mother.
The Painting Examination Laboratory, which reveals the secrets of artworks based on scientific methods, was founded in 2008 in Budapest. But the way to get there was long….
Thanks to her talent and visual education, after high school she started working as a costume design assistant at the National Theater in Miskolc. Shortly after that she was admitted to the Department of Visual Design at the University of Fine Arts, where she received assignments in various films and theaters during her studies. At the age of 24, she won the Costume Designer of the Year award!

From 2001, she became an employee of TV2 and was able to create venues for high-quality programs such as Híradó or Jó estét Magyarország as well as several large-scale set designs for MTV1’s political programs, such as Híradó and Este.
The loss of her beloved father was a big change in her life and career. After his death, the famous art historian Lajos Végvári was accused of giving improper / false expert opinions to certain artworks.

“As an author of 50 scientific books and monographs, after more than 50 years in the profession, I have ruled out that he could have been mistaken, especially in the case of authors he wrote books about. From then on, my life had changed: I set the goal to restore his honour from baseless accusations. My current creed and vocation, the scientific examination of paintings grew from this motivation, and I can proudly state that it provides a unique examination procedure for the identification of paintings not only in Hungary but in Europe as well.”

Art historians perform style-critical, iconographic, and “ideological” analyses, when they try to uncover the origins of a painting; although the sight which they use to decide who might be the painter is made of physical and chemical components — therefore the analysis of the canvas and paints should be essential.

During a lecture at the Academy of Contemporary Art Collection (Source: Facebook)

As a doctoral candidate of the Doctoral School of Art History of the Eötvös Loránd University, she presents the unique use of materials by Tivadar Csontváry Kosztka and Mihály Munkácsy in her forthcoming dissertation, drawing attention to not to confuse the “artistic style” with the the materials which build that up. Her studies about Tivadar Csontváry Kosztka can also be read on her website about the artist, where she presents Csontváry’s art with a unique tone through his cultural-historical background.
There are very good forgeries, but the perfect one does not exist – says Zsófia. With the aid of her exceptionally well-equipped laboratory it is possible to detect counterfeits with countless types of analyses.
As an independent office, the Painting Examination Laboratory and its Head are working to cleanse the Hungarian art market to make customers feel safe again.

Part of this mission and an important goal would be for Hungarian auction houses to set their selected artworks up for auction only with a combination of expert opinions and exact results of scientific examination. It is still a question, when will this vision become reality. But it is not impossible. In the meantime, as a speaker of professional conferences and relevant trainings, she promotes her science and helps art collectors in getting to know their paintings.

It might be too early to predict whether her children will follow her, as Laura is 7, Marcell is 3 years old, but it is certain – based on the steady development and unbroken success of the last 8 years – that Zsófia Végvári is committed to scientific painting examination on the long run, to make forging impossible for counterfeiters and frauds, to clean up the art market and to protect customers. Contact her with confidence!
/ text: Katalin Szalóczi, Kata Kaiser /

photo: János Vajda (MTI)