Art as Ambassador Project

Portrait of Nancy Brinker
László Fehér (1953- ): "Portrait of Nancy Brinker" Oil on canvas, 2004. Included in the 2013 exhibit

Art as Ambassador is a new project being launched by the Central European Institute. The mission is to share Central European art with the American public based on the idea that, in many ways, art is a nation's ambassador, representing its people, history and culture. The project will start with Hungarian art and expand to include art from other Central European nations over time.

The idea behind the name "Art as Ambassador" comes from Nancy G. Brinker, whose collection of Hungarian art was born soon after she arrived in Hungary as United States Ambassador. She arrived in Budapest shortly after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and, because of heightened security concerns, the art designated for the ambassador's residence sent from the United States was delayed. To furnish the residence, Ambassador Brinker visited museums, galleries and the auction houses of Budapest. This adventure led her to learn about the people and culture of Hungary through the eyes and work of the artists and began her life-long passion for Hungarian art. Today the Nancy G. Brinker Collection, a work in progress, continues to be built with sensitivity, love, knowledge and a passion for Hungary.

Ambassador Brinker serves on the board of the Central European Institute and is one of the co-patrons of the 2013 and 2014 "Art as Ambassador" exhibits.

Upcoming Exhibits

hungarian painting

József Rippl-Rónai (1861-1927): "Homage to Monsieur Bing
(Portrait of a Lady in Brown Dress)"
Oil on canvas, 1895-97.
Included in the 2013 exhibit

Art as Ambassador: Hungarian Masterpieces from the Nancy G. Brinker and Christian L. Sauska Collections
Sept. 27 - Oct. 19, 2013


Southport Galleries
330 Pequot Ave.
Southport, Conn.

Excluding special events, the art is exhibited at the Southport Galleries with free admission for the public during regular gallery hours: Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Special Events Schedule

  • Friday, Sept. 27 - Opening night with presentation by Gergely Barki, art historian, curator at Research Centre for the Humanities, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Art History, Budapest
  • Friday, Oct. 4 - Hungarian Food and Cuisine Night
  • Saturday, Oct. 12 - Hungarian Cultural Night hosted by the Honorary Hungarian Consul to Connecticut

All events are free and open to the public.

View photos from the opening event held on Sept. 27.


The Hungary Initiatives Foundation
Special thanks to our lead exhibition sponsor, The Hungary Initiatives Foundation.

Other Sponsors:

Souska Wines   William Penn Foundation
 Sauska Wines William Penn Association
John and Edith Lauer's Pannonius Foundation

About the Exhibit

This exhibit brings together selections from two great collections of Hungarian Art. The collection of Nancy G. Brinker was born soon after she arrived as the United States Ambassador to Hungary. It was shortly after 9/11 when Brinker arrived in Budapest. A selection of art from the Art in Embassies Collection designated for the ambassador's residence was delayed due to the heightened security issues.

Ambassador Brinker's introduction to the world of Hungarian art was made with the help of a dear friend, István Rozsics. István took her to museums, galleries and the auction houses of Budapest. She began her adventure to learn more about the people and culture of Hungary through the art. She was struck by the richness and powerful quality of Hungarian painting. Despite the stormy 20th century history of this country, its artistic tradition has remained consistent and exciting. This excitement was contagious and it was what influenced Ambassador Brinker to develop a collection of her own. In the still young Budapest art market she was fortunate to acquire rare pieces from leading artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, followed by more contemporary pieces.

The Nancy G. Brinker Collection--a work in progress built with sensitivity, love, knowledge and a passion for Hungary--includes some of the highlights of Hungarian art between the late 19th century and the present day.

Christian Sauska began building his collection shortly after the collapse of communism in 1989. A Hungarian-born entrepreneur, Sauska started and built Light Sources Inc. in Orange, Conn., into one of the world's leading producers of specialty lighting.

The opening of Hungary in the 1990's allowed Sauska to develop a collection of true Hungarian masterpieces. The Sauska collection is very much a private collection built out of a personal connection to each piece of art and, especially early on, a personal interest in preserving Hungarian art in a turbulent post-communist world when such preservation was not always at the forefront of people's minds.

Today Christian Sauska and wife Andrea Sauska continue to collect works that speak to their hearts. As proud Hungarians and proud Americans it is an honor for them to share some of Hungary's most beautiful treasures with those in America, their second home.

This exhibit presents just a small sample of what is in both collections and provides a glimpse into the treasure trove of Hungarian art. The art selected ranges from the late 19th to the 21st century and includes some of the most famous and established Hungarian artists of all time.

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