American, born Hungary: The Hungarian American Photographic Legacy will fill in a missing chapter of 20th-century art history. Curated by Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Director and CEO Alex Nyerges, the exhibition of more than 170 photographs plus related ephemera will examine the works of Hungarian-born American artists and their influence on photography since the early 20th century.  

“The photography of Americans born in Hungary is an important, but very under-told story,” Nyerges said. “As one of the country’s top 10 comprehensive art museums, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is positioned, and even called upon, to help lead the way in telling it.”  

Included are works by notables like André Kertész, László Moholy-Nagy, Martin Munkácsi, and György Kepes, along with less familiar names whose photos are instantly recognizable. One example is Robert Capa, a pioneer of modern photojournalism whose photos of Omaha Beach on D-Day are among the most famous of World War II.  

The exhibition examines Hungarian photographers working in their home country, in European capitals such as Paris and Berlin, and in Dessau, Germany, where the utopian Bauhaus art school was a haven for the post–World War I avant-garde.  

Its focus is the impact of Hungarian-born artists on photography in the US, especially in urban centers such as New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Highlights include work by tailor and photographer John Albok, whose “scenes of leisure and lightness in Central Park and the 1939–40 New York World’s Fair,” were praised by the New York Times; Moholy-Nagy, whose “New Bauhaus” sought to establish the Windy City as a design incubator; and André de Dienes, whose portraits of cinema’s icons, including Marilyn Monroe, helped fuel Hollywood’s Golden Age.

Before opening at VMFA on October 5, 2024, American, born Hungary will open at the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, on April 5, marking the grand opening of a newly renovated exhibition space at the museum. After its run at VMFA, the exhibition will travel to the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York, where it will open September 26, 2025.

DIRECTLY ABOVE One-Third of the Nation Lower East Side, ca. 1935, Arnold Eagle (American, born Hungary, 1909–1992), gelatin silver print. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams Fund, 2014.170. © Arnold Eagle’s Estate 

André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation

Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Exhibition Endowment
Julia Louise Reynolds Fund

Mr. and Mrs. Charles N. Whitaker

Carol Ann Bischoff and Mike Regan
Nancy and Wayne Chasen
Anne and Gus Edwards
Richard S. Reynolds Foundation

Birch Douglass
Teri Craig Miles

Ann B. Carpenter | Christopher English and Meda Lane | Furthermore: a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund | Tammy and Brian Jackson | John and Michelle Nestler

This list reflects sponsors as of February 14, 2024.

TOP OF PAGE Martinique, 1972, Andre Kertesz (American, born Hungary, 1894–1985), gelatin silver print. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Endowment, 2018.206. Estate of Andre Kertesz