Ilona Miklosik


Jan. 1, 2022

autobiographical documents
exhibition catalogue
italian art
art collections



A young official from Banat, Zsigmond Ormós (1813-1894), who, because of his participation in the revolution of 1848-49, had been banned from working in administrative structures, went into self-exile in 1857 in order to dedicate himself to his literary career. After coming into contact with the Italian art, then with the one developed in the German countries, he felt an attraction towards the study of such works, and decided to publish some travel notes and popular articles related to art to raise the taste of his compatriots. At first, rather out of a desire to invest his little inherited fortune, he began buying works of art from collectors and auctions from Italy. Studying assiduously and visiting the art monuments on the spot, meticulously noting what he had seen, he decided to put together a modest collection of art objects gathered according to his own skills or using the advice of his artist friends. Over time, as a self-taught, he became a good connoisseur of the history of art in our region. He wrote specialised articles and artist monographs, his work was appreciated by contemporary specialists; in 1861 he was admitted as a corresponding member of the Hungarian Academy. Increasing the number of purchased objects in the collection, he kept gathering the data regarding the artists from his native country and even from Banat. He carried out his research to find pieces signed by painters considered ”compatriots” (ex. Jan Kupeczky) and supported the careers of some young talents he met (Vidéky János, Vizkelety Béla, Kugler P. Ferenc, Nicolae Popescu). His remaining archive, his rich correspondence with politicians, artists and art specialists of the XIXth century, as well as the vast fund of autobiographical documents offer us the possibility to follow the life of the disciplined official who, convinced of his good preparation for the administrative work, returns to his safe career at the first opportunity. However, this fund also reflects his beginnings on the way from knowing, studying and purchasing, in a timid or conscious way, and classifying the works of art from the XVIIth-XIXth centuries, up to the publication of several specialised works in the field of painting and sculpture. His great gesture – to donate his collections to the public of his home town at the end of his life (some items even to the National Museum of his country) – places the commissar of Timiș county, collector Zsigmond Ormós, among the cultural founders of this institution. Given the testamentary donation of his collections – not only art but also books, historical objects, numismatic items, documents etc. – to the community of the town, he laid the solid foundations of the regional museum in Banat.