The Delta Danube Landscape In The Patrimony Of The Art Museum In Tulcea

The Art Museum
Institute for Ecomuseum Research in Tulcea

The Tulcea County Museum, established in 1950, was – almost naturally – a heterogeneous structure, whose painting collection contained the works of a single artist: Geo Cardaş, a local painter who depicted the landscapes and people of the Danube Delta – Partisans in the Delta, Stevedores in the Harbor, Beach at Sulina. The loss of Balcic, the Romanian Barbizon, to Bulgaria, and, later, the opening of the cities of Tulcea and Constanta towards the end of the decade, offered Romanian artists the opportunity to find at the mouths of the Danube similar values and the same fascination with light and color, a variety of forms and local exoticism. Works by other local or adopted artists were added to the collection: Constantin Găvenea, Vasile Pavlov, Gheorghe Sârbu and Stavru Tarasov. The thematic particularity narrowed the range of acquisitions of prestigious Romanian and foreign works, therefore an extension was undertaken to include the entire Dobrujan region. Today, the Art Museum of the Institute for Ecomuseum Research in Tulcea possesses over 7500 works of modern and contemporary painting, graphic art, sculpture, and European decorative art, contemporary engravings, as well as Oriental decorative art, and icons. Artists of the modern period that conveyed the specific atmosphere of the Delta include: Nicolae Dărascu, Alexandru Satmary, Sârbu Gheorghe, Ştefan Popescu, Marius Bunescu, Lucia Cosmescu, Rodica Maniu, Constantin Blendea, Francisc Şirato, Max Waxler Arnold, Vasile Pavlov, Geo Cardaş, Stavru Tarasov. The deltaic motif diversified in the contemporary period, adopting a more immediately figurative approach, as with the painters Albani Virgil, Bimbea Dan, Dumitrescu Petre, Enache Gheorghe, Ispir Eugen, Mănescu Mihai, Măntescu Marinela, Micu Constantin, Nerbert Carol, Pelmuş Maria, Petriş Bogdan, Piliuţă Constantin, Poiată Viorel, Popovici Petre, Ştirbu Ştefan, Ţarălungă Ion, Mircea Vremir, and the graphic artists Constantin Maria, Ploşcaru Ileana, Vlad Nicodin, Mariţan Ştefan, Şuvailă Benone, Besu Marieta, Tudor Nicolae, Movileanu Vasile, Liberis Romeo, Petcu Maria, Teodor Hrib, Soo Zold Margit. The refined etchings by Naum Gheorghe, Horia Coriolan, Baillayre Tania, Olarian Mircea, or Munteanu Letiţia penetrated the intimacy of the willow-lined canals and solar reverberation on water, in contrast with the shadows. Other artists, like Dumitrescu Emilia, Gavrilov Mihail, Balog Lajos, Beiu Angheluţa Corina, Szervaţius Bach Hedda, opted for the strictness of etching as a synthesis of forms reduced to their essence, in punctilious, yet dynamic works. Striking contrasts and hatchings that inject dynamism are characteristic of etchings by Gheorghe Ivancencu, Cudinoff Anatolie, Feszt Laszlo, Manolescu Maria, and Marcel Chirnoagă, depicting life in the Delta – both the flora and fauna, and man with his various preoccupations. Art as a symbol toys with the surreal in works by Ştefan Găvenea, Aurel Burlacu, Pop Ion, Milan Florian, Stănescu Albin, Mihăescu Vintilă, Ştefan Pelmuş. Other works, by Ştefan Ştirbu, Eugen Barău, Jugaurs Răduş, or Milan Florian reflect crude, virgin reality and the origins. Watercolor on wet paper suggests the kingdom of lacustrine vegetation that seems to dissolve in the water of the Danube. Above, at the upper end of the distant relief, rises the mist. Constantin Găvenea is here the mentor, followed by Constantin Maria, Morariu Ion, Botar Ediţiu, Mircea Horia, Ferendino Florin, Cicerone Ciobanu. In synthetic watercolors, details become subjects of study: one can see cliffs by the Danube where layers of various chromatic intensities migrate and intertwine in the works of Anamaria Smigelschi, Kira Cristinel Popescu, Pelmuş Maria, Mircea Vremir. Post-modernity sometimes embraces abstractness, as in the abstract, vibrated landscapes of contemporary artists like Ileana Micodin, Anca Boeriu, Jakabhazi Alexandru, Iacobescu Ştefan, Gotia Mircea, Filip Traian, Popescu Adriana, Mihai Corneliu, Orth Ştefan, and Balogh Angela. Other deltaic landscapes ordered in sequences may be found in the works of Iacobescu Ştefan, Elvira Micoş, Nicolae Saftoiu and Ibrahima Keita. Finally, there are the artists whose transfiguration of image reached a sign status, in spontaneous suggestions of reality. Brushstrokes that resemble falling meteorites cross the immaculate surface of the support: contrasts are clear-cut, the contours of forms are modulated, and some even verge on writing. Outstanding in this category are artists such as Doina Simionescu, Alma Rusescu, Viorica Mihăescu, Niţescu Barbu, Avram Ovidiu, Silviu Băiaş and Lidia Mihăescu.

by Ibrahima Keita