what you get here

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!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Romanian "elites" shameless in theft

The restitution of property nationalised by the Romanian communist regime has been a long saga – with only 10,000 homes apparently restored and 200,000 cases outstanding at April 2013. Many glorious fin de siècle buildings have crumbled to dust under the combination of neglect, uncertainty, squatting, anticipated costs of rehab and illegal demolitions. Curiously every Romanian city has a clutch of grand palaces waving the flags of political parties which seem to have escaped what has passed as the restitution process.
The aftermath of the sudden Romanian revolution of December 1989 allowed a variety of political parties to assert their rights to an amazing array of places in all the major cities of Romania. God knows what goes on there – the windows are open in the summer but there is absolutely no sign of activity. The properties are worth billions…giving the parties (let alone the individuals who control them at various points of time) access to limitless bank credit. For more on this saga see this May 2013 piece from the Property Rights in Transition Journal
And what about the art collections which I referred to in a recent post? That post mentioned ever so casually that I had come across a very heavy and fascinating 380 page volume (from 2005) which itemises 500 or so paintings in an incredible collection of 60 year-old business-man Tiberiu Postelnica.
In my innocence I wanted to contact him, congratulate him on his taste and, who knows, perhaps even have a viewing. Curiously, however, even the Romanian version of google unearths very few references to either the man or his collection.
But I do discover that he is apparently the nephew of Ceaucescu's last Minister of the Interior and Head of the Securitate, Tudor Postelnica – and worth at least 10 million euros. You can imagine the process by which he came to accumulate the collection he now has and so shamelessly boasts about in this 380 page volume!!!
"There were two works of Baba, small, two Patrascus, two Palladys, a Lucian Grigorescu, a small Tonitza, two works by Ciucurencu a larger; some Catargi paintings on cardboard; and quite a few drawings by Ressu, "said the President of the Union of Artists. He also explained that he preferred direct selling because it was the quickest way to get money: "It was a public sale but not a public auction. Had I made ​​a public auction, then the Ministry of Culture would have had the first right of refusal. Under these circumstances, I had to do a letter to wait three months for them to come and classify the assets if works or part of the Treasury, and other months in which I address or MCC museum, to ask them if they want to buy these papers etc. they probably would have responded and only then was allowed to come to auction. After these six months, I should have apply to an auction house for the Union circulated, to auction only work of its members, those in life. We have no right to do auction with works of deceased artists. would be delayed so that a half-year auction 
I had started today wanting to blog about my great find – Romanian painter Constantin Artachino who was born on 7 November 1870 of a Turkish family living at the Marmara Sea which came to Bucharest in 1877. His colours are glorious and several of the paintings redolent of some of my Bulgarian painters such as Dobre Dobrev. The example which heads the post - from the Danube - is typical. 

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