Sunday, November 20, 2011

Reception in honor of The Ambassador of Hungary

Hostess Aniko Gael Schott  H.E. The Ambassador of Hungary  Didi Cutler
Photo credit: Kyle Samperton

by Janet Donovan

Hungary has a colorful past and a bright future according to György Szapáry, Ambassador of The Republic of Hungary, who was the guest of  honor at the art filled home of Aniko and Nash Schott.

Aniko and Nash have been an eclectic social and artistic presence in Washington for years.

Her story:

Aniko Gael Schott
"On December 9th, 1956, we left Budapest, bound for Sopron, leaving all worldly possessions behind. Armed with hope and courage in our hearts, two changes of clothing on our backs and salt, paprika and spices in one suitcase, we pretended to be going to a pig-slaughtering ceremony in the event of capture. Mother, father, my little brother and I thus began our journey to freedom."

Painting by Imre Bakk
Life came full circle when Aniko ended up decorating the U.S. Embassy in Hungary with David Rollins, decorator to then U.S. Ambassador Nancy Brinker, who knew where all her furniture was stored from the various cities in which she had once lived. 

“We culled from them,” said Aniko. “Basically - armed with a floor plan, photos of the existing residence and my research - we led a team of local Hungarian artists, upholsterers, marble men, painters and carpenters and then David and I set off to Budapest to rethink, recompose the residence to Nancy’s liking and needs.”   

“With little funds and even less time, we split our responsibilities and transformed the chinz-filled rooms into an elegant contemporary space.  My personal coup was suggesting to Nancy that the empty walls be filled with Hungarian artists’ works until the “Art in Embassies” program’s paintings arrived and get install - which took eight mont
hs plus.
Excerpt from "56 Stories" by Edith Lauer

"I then approached Hungarian art historian Istvan Rozsics to take me through the ateliers of well known Hungarian artists and we together selected work for the purposes of, in effect, exhibitions at the U.S. residence.  As it ended up, the art selected became the soul of the residence from then on.  Nancy Brinker fell in love with Hungarian art and started a collection of her own which is now well documented and world famous.

His story: Ambassador György Szapáry: