Founded in 1889 as the fine art collection of Budapest. The intention to establish a museum was first worded in 1887. The Museum of Budapest to be housed in the Art Palace in the City Park, was eventually founded in 1899. In the first years the Museum collected works of fine art “related excusively to the city”. Around 1909 were given new impetus by mayor Istvan Barczy whose very definte ideas about the art patronage of the capital made changes “in the direction that in a view of a future–to–be municipal gallery the pure aesthetic values of the art objects purchased became more decisive than the subject they present”. One of the preconditions of a modern gallery, an ever–expanding collection was ready, but the building to house it took decades to find. The problem was eventually sold with the purchase of the Karolyi Mansion (in 1928), where the new institution, the Municipal Picture Gallery was opened on October 16th 1933.
Between the world wars, the Municipal Picture Gallery played an important role in making 19th and 20th century art aviable to the public. After World War II. the MPG was the first receive visitors. In 1949 was stated that “the MPG has collected the best pieces of Hungarian created in these last 150 years which in the future could serve as a basis for the National Gallery”. Between 1953–57 the works of art purchased out of “purely aesthetic considerations” merged with the collection of the National Gallery (more than 7000 pieces). From 1963 the MPG began to collect art again in a new place calls Kiscelli Múzeum. As the branch museum of the Budapest Historical Museum collects 20th century fine art, and specialised for contemporary art.