László Vass is the master of elegant men’s shoes, one who renewed old, traditional shoe-forms, applying slight modifications to modernize them. To Vass, men’s shoes are small sculptures; barely noticeable lines and shapes distinguish those of special quality from the ordinary ones.
The significant Hungarian collectors, who established their collections in the last several decades, nearly all belong to the same generation – a generation that was shaped in a similar cultural atmosphere. Hungarian collecting activity developed in a peculiar way, as specialization in collections only really began in the fairly recent past. During the last several years, sculptures, paintings, drawings and prints by the greatest artists of the European abstraction have been added to the works of Hungarian masters in the Vass Collection, Veszprém, one of the oldest urban areas in Hungary. László desired that some of the works he owned would once be housed in this museum, and considered it important that a few significant tendencies of the 20th century art could be perceived in his collection – primarily constructivism and abstraction. Vass aimed to represent more than one artistic period of each artist’s oeuvre, and also that significant watercolors, pastels and drawings related to the paintings and sculptures in the Vass Collection. To add diversity to the collection, Vass has recently acquired some portrait-photographs of the artists that he collects.
It was the Hungarian painter, Jenő Barcsay, who first introduced László Vass to the basic theoretical elements of art, the methods of abstracting nature, and the relation between construction and composition, and it was these experiences that encouraged Vass to begin collecting non-figurative art. From the older artist-generation he collected paintings by Dezső Korniss, Tihamér Gyarmathy and Tamás Lossonczy, and this meant that an interest also formed in the surrealism of artists working in Szentendre, as well as in geometrical abstraction expressing the secrets that shape micro- and macrocosms.
The 1960’s were a period of revival for modern Hungarian art and László Vass soon assembled a nice collection from the works of his contemporaries, for example Pál Deim, who improved the traditions of Szentendre group with his puppet figures, and the neo-geometrial oeuvre of István Nadler, Imre Bak and Tamás Hencze. He was also among the first to collect the sculptures of Tibor Csíky, who examined plastic sculptures with great awareness to later transform them into beautiful objects, and it was the forms and technical perfection of István Haraszty’s kinetic sculptures that Vass found attractive.
The collection of László Vass follows Hungarian abstract artists and artists of geometrical-reductive abstraction through their journey of minimal-art and serial art, concept and “new sensibility”, providing an almost entire picture of three decades’ movements and significant artistic oeuvres.
László Vass’ purpose when establishing and now displaying his collection was to make a collection accessible for himself and for his country – there are only a few private collectors who only want to contemplate in front of their precious objects in undisturbed privacy. The happiness of the others when they admire the objects that are of such vital importance to Vass is a delight for the collector.