The Collection of Hungarian Art Champions Thibaud & Margareta Schik-Bardy

Story of Hungarian fine art collectors

The remarkable story of a Hungarian couple who became Hungarian fine art collectors and art dealers in America is playing out right now online.  The museum-grade to decorative classical and modern artworks assembled by Thibaud Bardy and his wife, Margareta Schik-Bardy are being auctioned off in a series of single-owner online events by Mike Portobello Auctions in Budapest.  The online catalogue of the 6th auction, the latest in the series, can be viewed at . The Bardy collection represents Hungary’s “Hidden Treasure” and the couple’s working inventory, which is now available to the general public.

The collection was bequeathed to American lawyer and actor Thomas Schwartz.  Mr. Schwartz, also known as Screen Actors Guild member Tom Derek – see, inherited the artworks from his Godmother, Margareta.  Both Thibaud and “Margitka” were private dealers and collectors of Hungarian fine art for more than 70 years. They started their individual collection in Hungary in the 1930s separately, and after the 1956 revolution, they continued their work promoting Hungarian fine art in America.

They each personally curated the aesthetically pleasing works, and the collection has become a truly unique and authentic reflection of Hungary’s rich cultural heritage.  In the process, the pair became authorities and champions of Hungarian art in the West.  For decades, Hungary’s masterpieces were isolated behind the Iron Curtain and under the cultural radar of the West.

However, as the previous Portobello auctions demonstrate, the Bardy artworks have proven to be highly collectible and ripe for rediscovery!

Thibaud Bárdy és Szánthó Mária

Unique collection

The collection is quite large – there are 1,200 original oil paintings and 2,500 graphic works including watercolors, prints, lithographs and drawings. The artists included in the inventory are the internationally recognized Bela Invanyi-Grunwald, Molnar C. Pal, Antal Berkes, Ritta Boemm, Lajos Rezes Molnar, István Macsai, Szantho Maria, Naray Aurel, Herman Lipot, József Csillag, Mark Lajos, Antal and László Neogrady, Richard Geiger, Antal Jancsek, Janos Viski, Henczne Deak Adrienne, Aladar Edvi Illes, Gabriella Rainer Istvanffy, Komaromi Kacz-Endre, Lajos Kondor, Antal Peczely, Arpad Romek, Bela Apatfalvi Czene, Gyula Rudnay, Gyula Juszó, and graphics list of artists includes István Csok, Bela Invanyi-Grunwald and Oszkar Glatz among many others.

Astute Hungarian art collectors and the general public are rediscovering Hungary’s masterworks after decades of isolation,” said Mr. Schwartz.  “Today, discerning art lovers consider these works Europe’s ‘Hidden Treasure’ and highly collectible.  

Molnár C. Pál és Thibaud Bárdy

The collection’s virtuoso Hungarian artworks are of exceptional, world-class merit, reflecting the finest European art tendencies and traditions and they’re very affordable and available at auction at their actual fair market value, with no middleman costs or retail overhead.

I think the Internet is providing a new pathway to accelerating Hungarian art’s much-deserved recognition – it’s a powerful global resource to communicate, educate and raise awareness to Hungary’s great art masters,” said Schwartz.

“There’s also a new, technologically sophisticated collector in today’s art world, and they’ve eagerly welcomed new tools to help them collect art more efficiently.  Collectors have become more comfortable and confident buying fine art through secure online resources. The result of all this on a global level includes unlimited art exposure opportunities with more individuals, from all income brackets, investing in Hungarian fine art,” said Schwartz.

The provenance of the collection is fully authenticated, as Mr. Bardy maintained a close friendship with his circle of Hungarian artists, as documented through the many photographs, letters and sketchbooks found in the couple’s personal belongings.

Collectors are now focusing on the skill, technique and high quality of the art in this recognized asset class. They esteem the affordability and potential for high long-term appreciation of these works, as compared to the huge prices and volatility of A-list Western European and Hungarian modern and contemporary art,” says Schwartz.

An excellent investment in uncertain times

According to Schwartz, “Hungary’s modern and classical paintings represent a value opportunity and a ‘safe haven’ in these increasingly volatile and uncertain economic times.  With a war in Ukraine, a looming recession and high inflation’s loss of purchasing power, investment-grade Hungarian art now represents an important hedge against growing economic and geopolitical risk.  The prudent investor understands that it’s wise not to put all of one’s eggs (or hard-earned savings and wealth) in a single basket.  Diversification into tangible / portable assets of enduring value, like gold and collectible art, represents a safe-haven’s ‘flight to quality,’ as well as beauty, and is the surest path to safety over time.

Stocks and bonds are highly valued and in “bubble territory” these days – and there’s a pressing need to find alternative assets to shelter savings while minimizing risk.  Beyond their pure aesthetic enjoyment, fine art as an asset class, has an extremely low correlation with stocks, bonds and real estate in a financial crisis.  As a result, Hungarian masterworks have uniquely preserved their power and enduring value over many decades.  

As Margitka’s Godson and heir, I feel a deep sense of gratitude for her kindness in entrusting the collection to my care.  Since she passed, I’ve been on a mission to honor her legacy as well as Hungary’s rich cultural heritage, which Margitka valued so highly.  The greatest service I can provide in the promotion of Hungarian fine art is honoring her trust in me and fulfilling my mission.  I brought the collection back to Hungary, where it is held in the highest esteem, and through my association with Portobello, I am genuinely excited about sharing it with the people of Hungary and Hungarian communities in the surrounding Central European countries,” Schwartz said.

The current auction is still ongoing, the items available to view here!