Presidents of Portugal and Hungary visited the Arpad Szenes Museum today

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The Presidents of Portugal and Hungary visited the Arpad Szenes-Vieira da Silva Museum in Lisbon today as part of Katalin Novák’s state visit to Portugal from today until Friday.

Thedirector of the Arpad Szenes-Vieira da Silva Foundation, António Gomes de Pinho, thanked the visit and stressed that there will be “a great exhibition” on the work of the two artists in Budapest and Lisbon (cities where Arpad Szenes and Vieira da Silva were born, respectively) and that it may circulate to other European capitals.

After the traditional ceremonies at Jerónimos and the joint conference at Palácio de Belém, the media was told that Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa would accompany the Hungarian President on this more cultural visit, which was already on his initial agenda.

However, due to other commitments of Katalin Novák – who, after the meeting with the President of the Republic, also had a lunch hosted by the Minister of the Presidency, Mariana Vieira da Silva, on behalf of the Prime Minister – the visit started almost 40 minutes late and Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa waited long minutes for his counterpart.

The two heads of state toured the two main rooms of the museum, which contains works by the two artists, who were married for 55 years. They lingered a little longer in the room where some of the drawings by Arpad-Szenes, who was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1897, are exhibited.

According to the information made available by the museum in a Portuguese and Hungarian brochure created especially for Katalin Novák’s visit, Arpad Szenes met the painter Maria Helena Vieira da Silva, born in Lisbon in 1908, in 1929 in Paris.

In 1939, during World War II, the couple asked for Portuguese nationality, but their request was refused and they both left for Brazil in 1940, settling in Paris in the 1950s and accepting French nationality in 1956.

From the 1970s on, major exhibitions of both artists were held in France and Portugal, and in 1990 the Arpad Szenes-Vieira da Silva Foundation was created in Lisbon, but the artist died two years later and no longer attended the opening of the museum in 1994 (her husband had died in 1985).

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