Gyula Pasteiner (1846–1924), professor of art history at Budapest University retired in 1916. The minister of religion and public education issued an advertisement of the vacancy calling for applications (deadline: 15 August 1917). Six persons replied to the call until the deadline: László Éber, Tibor Gerevich, Antal Hekler, Béla Lázár, Simon Meller and Zoltán Felvinczi Takács. In the paper I present the history of the vacancy on the basis of documents preserved at the Archive of Eötvös Loránd University. The university committee in charge of the appointment of the new professor asked Pasteiner to make a preliminary evaluation of the applications. In his lengthy review presented on 10 May 1918 (Appendix I “Pasteiner’s report on the applications”) he did not find any of the applicants fit for the chair. Pasteiner’s negative view was rooted partly in the antagonism between university and museum practice also deepened by him. All the applicants were namely specialists in museology or historic monument protection. As Pasteiner put it, “The Germans have long realized the difference between the two disciplines and translated this recognition into practice. Not even in exceptional cases do practitioners of museum science lay claim to a department chair, and conversely, a university department lecturer would not give up his job for museum activity.”
The committee of the faculty of humanities did not accept Pasteiner’s opinion, and supported the classical archeologist Antal Hekler’s or Hekler’s and art historian and curator of the Museum of Fine Arts Simon Meller’s candidacy “aequo loco”. When the post was announced, Hekler, a one-time pupil of Adolf Furtwängler was privatdocent of archeology at Budapest University, curator of the Museum of Fine Arts and director of the Hungarian Scientific Institute in Constantinople among other engagements. Meller’s best-known publication was the study Die Reiterdarstellungen Leonardos und die Budapester Bronzestatuette (Jahrbuch der Königlich Preussischen Kunstsammlungen, 1916). In support of Meller some European colleagues also put pen to paper, such as Wilhelm von Bode, Adolf Goldschmidt and Max Dvořak. Eventually Hekler was appointed to the post, presumably upon political pressure. Pasteiner submitted a protest to the minister (Appendix II: “Pasteiner’s dissenting opinion”). Meller’s supporters also protested, without success.
The legendary dual institutional structure of art historical education at Budapest University began with the appointment of Hekler in October 1918. The second professor, his rival Tibor Gerevich, was not appointed before 1924.