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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!

Friday, May 15, 2015

The great Romanian Realist school

 An “Art Safari” is taking place this week on Bucharest’s central thoroughfare, Magheru Boulevard, in what was, until recently, an art-deco garage which I used a few years back for my car’s annual test.
The jewels in the display are the regional collections – from Constanta, Arad, Galati but Baia Mare in particular which was, at the turn of the 20th century, a real magnet for painters… the link gives a good history – as well as excellent sections on some of the key local painters….
The Constanta Curator – Doina Pauleanu - is clearly one of the country’s key art historian - having written at least three magnificent looking books on the painters of the period (unfortunately only in Romanian) - but shared the problem she has finding someone with the necessary qualifications and dedication willing to take the administrative burdens involved for about 300 euros a month..She’s active in cross-border work, for example, with the Bulgarian curators of Dobrich Gallery (whom we know) and Russe – and has run trips to the traditional art colony of Balcik…
Last year, the safari was located in a large tent in the central square in front of the National Gallery and was rather small and stifling. This is a much better location – giving the conditions to allow the slow savouring of the amazing treasures the curators have brought forth.

And the organisers are to be congratulated on the creativity they let loose on the old building…

The display encourages us to make the trip to the various regions – particularly Constanta – and to resume the editing of more than 500 pages of text and reproductions I had accumulated for some 75 of the better known Romanian realists of a century ago. I took me quite a few years to appreciate the power of the Romanian tradition – their works are not so easily seen in the smaller galleries and one of my posts referred to the number of private collections which apparatchiks have squirrelled away. The Masters were  
- the classicist Theodor Aman (1831-91);
- the impressionist Nicolae Grigorescu (1838-1907); and his friend, the tragically short-lived 
Ion Andreescu (1850-82)

and it is quite astonishing how many great artists were born within 15 years or so of one another in the country. Here’s the top ten for me -
Nicolae Vermont (1866-1932) had great landscapes; 
Stefan Luchian (1868-1917) is better known for his still-lives.
Artachino Constantin (1870-1954) he and the trio who follow are the great colourists  
Strambu Ipolit (1871-1934)
Stefan Popescu (1872-1948) my favourite - who has many North African landscapes;
Biju Leon 1880-1970
Camil Ressu (1880-1962) with wonderful peasant scenes; and 
- Bunescu Marius 1881-1971
Jean Alexandru Steriadi(1881-1956) with a lot of inspiration from the Black Sea.
Iosif Iser (1881-1958) was a very colourful artist - who gave us great figurative work ...of racetracks and Ottoman figures.
- Bednarik Ignat (1882-1963)
- Darescu Nicolae 1883-1959 – another great colourist
Nicolae Tonitsa (1886-1940) is well-known for his portraits - and the curious dark eyes of many of his figures.
Samuel Muntzner (1884-1959) is also a favourite - with river or sea generally present in his paintings.

You'll find a series of my posts on the Romanian realists here

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