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This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Two more realist Romanian painters of the early 20th century

Two painters were missing from yesterday’s list of important Romanian painters of the early 20th ;Century – one deliberately, the other because I was not aware of his significance.

I have never been particularly impressed with Theodor Pallady (1871-1956) but his name should be included in any such list.
Pallady was born in Iaşi, but at a young age, his family sent him to Dresden, where he studied engineering at the Dresden University of Technology between 1887 and 1889. At the same time, he studied art and was encouraged to go to Paris where he enrolled in the Academy of Fine Arts (Académie des Beaux-Arts). In 1892, he worked in the studio of Gustave Moreau, where he had as colleagues Henri MatisseGeorges Rouault, and Albert Marquet.
In 1904, Pallady returned to Romania but maintained close connections with Paris, where he continued to hold many personal exhibitions, up until World War II. He also exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 1924, 1940 and 1942. A good website gives some of his paintings.

Stefan Dimitrescu (1886-1933) is a new one for me – and most impressive. Most of Dimitrescu's paintings take inspiration mainly from the life of simple folk, and especially from that of Romanian peasants and miners; they attempt to portray Romanian traditions and way of life, drawing on his encounters with both Byzantine art and the work of Paul Cézanne.
Part of his art (between 1926 and 1933) was inspired by his travels to Dobruja, and have been considered to be the most accomplished synthesis between his craft as a draftsman and his art as a painter.
Born in Moldova into a modest family, he completed his primary and secondary studies in his hometown. In 1902, deciding to follow his passion for music, he left for Iasi, where he took cello classes at the Iaşi Conservatory.
In summer of 1903, Dimitrescu entered the National School of Fine Arts in the city, studying in the same class as Nicolae Tonitza. After graduation, Dimitrescu painted murals for Orthodox churches in Bacău County. Between 1912 and 1913, he studied in Paris, at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, during which time he was attracted to impressionism
Drafted into the army at the start of the Romanian Campaign of World War I, Dimitrescu was profoundly touched by the experience, and began painting tragic pieces that documented the misery brought by the conflict. Like his friend Tonitza, he began exploring social themes, such as the effects of bombardments.
In 1917, along with the painters Camil RessuIosif IserMarius Bunescu, he founded the Art of Romania association in their Iaşi refuge. In 1926, Dimitrescu, with Oscar HanFrancisc Şirato, and Nicolae Tonitza, established Grupul celor patru ("The Group of Four").
He became a teacher at the Iaşi National School of Fine Arts in 1927, and, during the next year, he was named its headmaster (a position he held until his death). Towards the end of his life, Dimitrescu began expanding his palette to cover more somber colors, while exploring compositions in which the background was stripped of details and usually of a dominant white.
Some of his paintings can be seen on this website.

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