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The history of the Hamza Collection and Jasz Gallery Print Facebook share
This smaller museum opened in 15th of July 1995 with a fine arts collection is serving the inhabitants and visitors of Jaszbereny and the Jasz region by its collection and cultural offers for one and a half decade.

This museum of public interest was formed thanks to the artistic legacy of Akos D. Hamza (1903-1993), painter and film director, which he donated to the city of Jaszbereny and to the Jasz region in 1987. This legacy contains the greatest part of his artistic life-work.

The life-work of Akos D. Hamza was created far away from Hungary, in Paris and in São Paulo, in Brazil. After his 36-year long stay in Brazil, he returned home in 1989. Hamza’s grandfather, Pal Hamza was a school-teacher in Jaszbereny and because of this Hamza spent his childhood summers in our town. The affection which grew from this made him choose Jaszbereny as his last place of residence, where he lived until his death in 1993.

After the donation the paintings got to the Jasz Museum, till then in 1991 Hamza asked to carry to his house. Later Hamza’s life-work was given residence in this building, on the Gyongyosi Road, in house number 7. Since the museum's opening, from 1995 until 2005, then from 2005 until 2011 the audience may have seen two different selecting of Hamza D. Ákos'  oil paintings and wooden sculptures complemented with some personals in the permanent exhibition. From 2005 until 2011 in a separate hall a selecting from the jasz painters lived in the 20th century had placed.
Maria Lehel Hamza’s hundreds of fashion drawings were also given to the city as part of the Hamza legacy. From this we have chosen the material exhibited in the fourth room.
Together with the Hamza legacy, many pieces of art and several documents about Maria Lehel Hamza’s parents – Maria Lehel, painter and Ferenc Lehel painter and artistic writer – were also added to the collection of the museum. 

Unfortunately, due to the reduced exhibition space there is no presentation of Akos D. Hamza’s activities as a film director in the permanent exhibition, though he is considered and acknowledged to be a successful film director of the 1930-40s in Hungarian film history. The collection has several documents in connection with this. Precisely in order to fill this gap, the museum published the book Pictures in Black and White – in co-operation with the Hungarian Film Archive – which is actually a filmography written to high scientific standards. It embraces all data found about Hamza’s activity related to film, and it also contains his personal bibliography.
Exhausting the artist's cinematic art and movie-maker heritage the museum opened a new permanent exhibition in autumn of 2011 with the title Strange appiontment. The exhibition has compiled with a thematic selecting from Hamza's paintings with the title On the road.

In the beginning a modest financial funding for the running of the museum was provided by a private foundation, Hamza Museum Foundation, which was established by the artist’s wife, Maria Lehel Hamza. The private foundation operated this collection of art works in public ownership for more than five years.

Maria Lehel Hamza, the founder, selected and invited the members of the foundation’s advisory board with great care as she intended to secure, by all means, the realisation of the aim formulated at the donation, namely the foundation of the Jasz Gallery through the Hamza Collection. Thus, the following people were invited to join the board: Laszlo Talas, director of the Jasz-Nagykun-Szolnok County Museum; Sandor Varga, retired ambassador; Mihaly Terjek, retired ambassador; Nandor Bartos, engineer; Sandor Buzas, teacher; Maria Deme, associate professor; Dr. Laszlo Dobos, economist-sociologist; Eniko Hamza, economist; Janos Toth, museum director; Dr. Levente Magyar, mayor of Jaszbereny; Jozsef Sisa, artist; Ferenc Szikra, mayor of Jaszarokszallas; Sandor Torok, mayor of Jaszapati. At the founder’s request, Dr. Janos Knorr became the legal advisor.

The private property, however, was diminishing – because of the lack of continous financial support – and the future of the museum was in danger within a short time.

After the towns and villages of the Jasz region had renounced their part of the legacy in favour of Jaszbereny, the city of Jaszbereny made a serious and important decision. It decided about the financial support of the museum in the interest of the art works owned exclusively, and at the same time it also made a decision about its operation.

This decision was helped by that fact that the Foundation “For the Jazygians” renounced its beneficiary right which ordered that if the private foundation will cease, they will receive the legacy and the wealth. This was an agreement between Jaszbereny, the Hamza Museum Foundation and the Foundation “For the Jazygians”.

For this purpose, the local government of Jaszbereny established the Hamza Museum and Jasz Gallery Public Foundation in 2000 and with this act the further operation of the museum was secured.

At first the foundation’s advisory board consisted of five person: dr. Robert Kertesz, director of the Jasz-Nagykun-Szolnok County Museum, dr. Karoly Stanitz, vice-mayor of Jaszbereny, dr. Laszlo Dobos, delegate of the Foundation “For the Jazygians”, dr. Edit H. Batho, directress of the Jasz Museum and Andras Nagy, director of the Lehel Vezer Secondary Grammar School. In 2003 there were changes in the board. The most important change was that the membership is not depend on function yet, but on persons. The local government selected the members of the public foundation’s advisory board with great care as well. Thus, the president of the advisory board became Dr. Karoly Stanitz, vice-director general of SZIE-JFK (College of Jaszbereny) and its vice-president became Istvan Szikra, electrical engineer. The members are Mrs Piroska Dr. Ilona Kertesz, lawyer; Mrs Horti Dr. Edit Batho, museum director; Dr. Laszlo Horvath, director of the museums in Jasz-Nagykun-Szolnok County; Dr. Laszlo Dobos, charge d’affairs of the Foundation "For the Jazygians" and the Association of Jasz People and Dr. Istvan Redei, lawyer. Dr. Janos Knorr was again invited as legal advisor by the advisory board.
The Publid Foundation operate the museum with four employees at this time: a director, a museum people's educator, an administrator, and a part-time warden, cleaner.
When the museum has opened, Gyongyi Janosi B. teacher, people's educator was entrusted with the museum's leadership. She performed the task until 2008, when she retired. Zoltan Gog, a cultural manager was entrusted with the supply of the museum's directorial tasks in 2008. Since 2010 the institution works with four colleagues: a director, an art historian, museologist, a librarian, culture organizer and a part-time warden, cleaner.
In 2011 the founder, the local government of Jaszbereny modified the charter of the Public Foundation, and reduced the advisory board's staff numbers to five. The president of the advisory board became Mrs Horti Dr. Edit Batho, the vice-president became Istvan Szikra, the members are Dr. Laszlo Horvath, Dr. Laszlo Dobos and a new member, Gyorgy Mate, sculptor.

After its registration the Public Foundation started its work according to its deed of foundation. From the tasks assigned to it, the museum can carry out only those concerning the Hamza legacy. It has, so far, been unable to realise the establishment of the Jasz Gallery, the permanent exhibition of the artists linked to the Jasz region, which would be the second great field of its operation. The reason for this is, above all, that the present building of the museum is unsuitable for this purpose.

The museum received its licence from the Ministry of National Cultural Heritage in 2002. The licence indicates the collection circle of the museum which embraces all together 18 towns and villages.

The main function of the Hamza Museum is to take care, to keep a record of, to enrich if possible, to study and to present the entrusted collection to a wide audience in different exhibitions. Carrying out research on the artistic values of the Jasz region and publishing the results of this research belong to the museum’s basic functions as well. The book series, which offers an analytical study of the life and work of the artists linked to the Jasz region, proved to be a great initiation. Thus, beside the monography of Hamza (1996), a Hamza filmography (2000) was published together with the monographies Life and Painting of Janos Riba (1999), Life and Painting of Laszlo Benke (2001), Life and Painting of Istvan Vuics (2003), Life and Painting of Jozsef Makay (2004) and Life and art of Arpad Gecse (2010). The museum participated publishing a monography about Jozsef Litkei painter (2004).

An outstanding piece of this series is the smaller encyclopaedia Portrait Gallery of the Jasz Painters (2002) which contains the data of classical and contemporary artists from the turn of the century to the present day. When the museum celebrated the 10th anniversary of its existence, published a Jubilee Yearbook in 2005. In 2007 the Fescoes of the Church of Jaszszentandras, which is presented the most special artwork of the Jaszsag, the frescoes of Vilmos Aba-Novak was published by the museum.
The museum consideres it a special acknowledgement that the Frick Art Reference Library in New York ordered all the volumes from the museum’s internet collection.
By today, beside the unique Hamza-legacy, the jasz bonded artists' works are important part of the fine art collection. Paintings can be found from Laszlo Benke, Janos Gy. Riba, Istvan Vuics, Jozsef Makay, Arpad Gecse, Andras Saros and others of the jasz painters lived in the 20th century. We have to emphasize Jozsef Litkei, the previous head of department of the College of Applied Arts, and his collection consisting 22 works, and some creations of Maria Lehel, Janos Thorma and Gyula Rudnay.
The most outstanding pieces of the contemporary collection unit the works of Tibor Palko painter mean.

The smaller museum, however, has not simply stopped at fulfilling its basic functions but has always aimed at providing a wide range of programmes in the field of fine arts for the inhibitants of the town, and on request for the inhibitants of the Jasz towns and villages, by organising further events, temporary exhibitions, lectures and gallery-buses.
The Association for the Fine Art-Friends of the Jasz Region was founded in 2004 by the supporters of the Hamza Museum and by the members of the Art-Friends’ Club for the purpose of establishing the Jasz Gallery. Making use of the rights and opportunities of a civil organisation, this association intends to support the cause of art in Jaszbereny and in the Jasz region and the goals of the Hamza Museum. With more than 60 founders, today with nearly 100 members, it can serve as a battlement of art in the smaller region and it can also influence the efficiency of the museum.

By announcing competitions and providing exhibition opportunities, the museum tried to help the local artists and the secondary school pupils, at the same time, to present their works. Since 2007 organizes regular vernal, summer and autumn occupation series for primary school aged groups. The museum co-operates with the Association for the Fine Art-Friends of the Jasz Region. It encouraged to establish and still supports the Hamza Studio consisting of young artists, whose catalogue was published in 2000 and in 2009 as well.

Not only the local papers but also the professional periodicals often report on the museum’s activities. Although the museum does not belong to the national museums’ network, it has professional relations to other museums and to the Pulszky Society.

Since its official opening, the museum has numerous helpers, with whose financial and moral support the museum has been able to achieve its results. The number of supporters is continously increasing, which can be taken as a sign of recognition for the work carried out in the museum.

The works that have been offered for the enrichment of the collection are of great importance as there has never been enough money for this purpose in the budget. For this reason, we must mention Mrs Litkei Rozsa Fabian, the inheritors of Istvan Vuics, Laszlo Benke, Magdolna Riba, Gyorgy Mate, Tibor Palko, Janos Palotasy Music School, the family of Andras Saros, Mrs. Szabo, Iren Gara, Bela Toser, Bela Telek and the members of the Hamza Studio who have offered many valuable pieces of art to the collection of the museum.

Unfortunately, the museum’s building is unsuitable for organising greater events and large-scale temporary exhibitions. The activities of the museum could be widened in a proper place and it could operate by offering space for new and important exhibitions and audiences. In our towns many people support the idea of moving the museum to a more spacious building. The fine art collection increasing continually, the claim and necessity of the suitable storage and presentation of the art objects force the walls of the scant building. We hope that those who are in the position to decide will take a positive step in the interest of the town and of art.