The Museum Of Art Collections

After having been closed for consolidation, restoration and reorganization, the Museum of Art Collections, housed by the former Romanit Palace, restores to circulation fourteen collections, exhibited in the building facing the Grivita Road. The building was closed in 1986 and reopened last Tuesday (December 22, 2003) in a modern exhibiting style. In the central and north wings of the edifice works are still under way.The collections that are being restored to the public circuit are: the Garabet Avachian collection, the Beatrice and Hrandt Avakian collection, the Clara and Anatol E. Baconsky collection, the Marcu Beza – Hortensia and Vasile G. Beza collection, the Céline Emilian collection, the Dr Sandu Lieblich collection, the Dr Mircea Petrescu and Prof Artemiza Petrescu collection, the Dr Sorin Schächter collection, the Sica Alexandrescu collection, the Alexandra and Barbu Slatineanu comparative art collection, the Dumitru and Maria Stefanescu – Col Gheorghe Preda collection, the Josefina and Eugen Taru collection, the Hurmuz Aznavorian collection, the Rodica Aznavorian Sfintescu and Claudiu Sfintescu donation, the Elena, Maria and Dr Iosif N. Dona collection. The restoration of the Grivita Road wing of the Museum of Art Collections also occasioned the return of its basement to the museum circuit. The three vaulted rooms offered an ideal space for organizing the lapidary. Here we find exhibited tomb stones, inscriptions carved in stone, monumental columns, column pedestals, various objects valuable from a historical, documentary, but also an artistic point of view, that bear testimony to the craftsmanship of the Wallachian stonemasons in the age of Neagoe Basarab, Matei Basarab, Sherban Cantacuzino, Constantin Brancoveanu, Nicolae Alexandru and Constantin Mavrocordat.The Museum of Art Collections, constituted as a branch of the National Art Museum of Romania, was officially inaugurated on August 21, 1978 with the intention to unite in a single establishment the private collections that had become public. The bringing together of collections of undisputed value was meant to emphasize the role of the collectors in the country's cultural and artistic life.The museum's patrimony totals 12,000 art works, each collection including between 4 and 1,100 objects. Paintings, sculptures, works of graphic, decorative and folk art mirror the remarkable diversity of the collections of Romanian, European and Oriental art.The Garabet Avachian collection. The collector was a distinguished violin professor at the Ciprian Porumbescu Conservatoire in Bucharest. The impressive donation made by his wife, Mariana Sabina Avachian, includes 1,103 art objects from different artistic domains, proving the artist's predilection for various artistic genres and civilization areas. Garabet Avachian's great passion were the canvases of Theodor Pallady and he bought many thereof, notable among which are White Tulips, Still Life with Red Box, Woman in Armchair, Still Life with Flowers and Green Book. This valuable ensemble is complemented by paintings bearing the signature of Grigorescu (Portrait of Alexandru Davila as a Child), Stefan Luchian (Strawberries), Gheorghe Petrascu (On the Beach), Iosif Iser (Tartar Women), Nicolae Tonitza, Abcar Baltazar, Dimitrie Ghiata, Alexandru Ciucurencu.The Beatrice and Hrandt Avakian collection. Assembled independently one from the other, the collections belonging to the two art lovers, brother and sister, evince a common propensity for oriental art. The contribution of the two collectors to the donation as a whole reveals the preferences of each of them. Beatrice Avakian had a passion for jewellery, wood and ivory miniatures, embroidery, Bohemia crystal, painting, while Hrandt Avakian was attracted to small bronze statuettes, archeological artifacts, Roman glassware, textile and ceramics. Another highlight of the collection is the painting of Hrandt Avakian, who devoted himself to plastic arts in Balcic, under the tutorship of artists like Al. Steriadi, Iosif Iser, Rodica Maniu and others.The Hurmuz Aznavorian collection, donation Rodica Aznavorian Sfintescu and Claudiu Sfintescu. Brilliant jurist and politician, passionate art lover, Hurmuz Aznavorian devoted his attention to acquiring a sound artistic culture. His collection, which comprised over three hundred art works, was one of the most extensive and rigorously assembled of the time. Thirty six of the art works included in the collection were donated by Hurmuz Aznavorian's daughter and son-in-law in the year 2000. The items that formed the object of the donation attest to the collector's preferences with respect to Romanian painting. The portrait of the collector's wife made by Nicolae Grigorescu is worth mentioning, as well as canvases by Gheorghe Petrascu, Nicolae Tonitza, Francisc Sirato and Alexandru Ciucurencu. The Clara and Anatol E. Baconsky collection. Art lover and connoisseur, Anatol E. Baconsky proves his competence both by his refined and discerning studies on Tuculescu or Botticelli and by his passion for collecting art. The donation made to the museum in 1980 by Letitia Amarascu (Clara Baconsky's sister) includes 21 paintings, graphic art works and icons on glass. Paintings by Stefan Dimitrescu and Dimitrie Ghiata, alongside those by Lucian Grigorescu or Iosif Iser, illustrate some of the significant trends in Romanian painting in the years 1940 to 1970.The Marcu Beza – Hortensia and Vasile G. Beza collection. The collection belonging writer, literary critic, historian and diplomat Marcu Beza, donated to the state by his brother, Vasile George Beza and his wife Hortensia, comprises 373 works and reflects the diplomat's interests and travels. The highlight of the collection is the so-called "Arabian room," whose charm is due to the numerous objects displaying various techniques, the textile pieces being particularly noticeable. The Céline Emilian collection. Donated in 1983 and comprising 44 sculptures by Céline Emilian, the collection has a monographic nature as it allows one to become acquainted with the works of a sculptor whom Ionel Jianu deemed to be "one of the most outstanding portraitists in Romanian sculpture." Her favourite theme is represented by several portraits of princesses and boyars' wives, with recognizable folk influences. The collection also includes the busts of architect Ion Ludosanu and engineer George Mavrocordat.The Elena, Maria and Dr Iosif N. Dona collection. The collection, which focuses on Romanian art, constitutes a concise visual history of Romanian plastic art from the mid 19th century to the mid 20th century. The collection abounds in paintings by Nicolae Grigorescu, Stefan Luchian, Nicolae Tonitza, Theodor Pallady. Alongside the artists already mentioned, painters Sava Hentia, Francisc Sirato, Stefan Popescu, Marcel Iancu, Alexandru Ciucurencu and sculptors Vladimir Hegel, Oscar Han, Milita Petrascu illustrate the most significant evolutions and trends in Romanian art throughout a century. The Sandu Lieblich collection. Sandu Lieblich, physician and publicist, put together a small but valuable collection of Romanian painting and graphic art, which was donated to the museum by Aurel Lieblich, the collector's brother, in 1979 and 1982. The most interesting part of the donation, which numbers fifty pieces, is represented by the works of Marcel Iancu: two oil paintings and five graphic works. The collection also comes to confirm Dr. Lieblich's fondness of the creation of Iosif Iser. Graphic art is exemplified, besides the above-mentioned artists, by Gheorghe Petrascu, Nicolae Tonitza, M.H. Maxy, Nina Arbore. The Dr Mircea Petrescu and Prof Artemiza Popescu collection. In the painting section of the collection, the eye is caught by several portraits by anonymous artists who worked in the Romanian Principalities in the 19th century. Out of the series of engravings, it befits mentioning the works signed by William Watts (Palace in Bucharest, View from Outside Bucharest, Pitesti, View from the Olt River), Bernard Baron (Wallachian Boyar), Jean-Baptiste Houssard (Young Lady from Wallachia), Franz Wolf (View from the Danube, The Ruins of Trajan's Bridge, The Iron Gates).The Dr Sorin Schächter collection. Alumnus of the "Carol Davila" Medical Institute in Bucharest, Sorin Schächter was particularly attracted by contemporary Romanian art. Before he emigrated to Israel in 1981, he donated to the Museum of Art Collection three landscapes: two oil paintings – Landscape with Fruit Trees, Landscape – signed by Dumitru Ghiata, artist whom the collector, taking over a phrase from Eugen Schileru, called "one of the giants of Romanian painting," and a watercolour by Nutzi Acontz: Landscape.The Sica Alexandrescu collection. In over five decades of prodigious activity, Sica Alexandrescu (1896-1973), prominent figure of Romanian scenic art, established himself not only as a "fundamental" director, but also as a mentor of the theatrical movement, especially in the inter-war period. The donation made in 1980 by the artist's wife, Aurelia Alexandrescu, comprises four valuable works by outstanding painters: Gheorghe Petrascu (Jar with Brushes), Nicolae Tonitza (Nude Seen from Behind), Theodor Pallady (Still Life with Anemones) and Iosif Iser (Harlequin and Danseuse).The Alexandra and Barbu Slatineanu comparative art collection. The collection became part of the museum's patrimony in 1979. At present it totals over 400 objects originating from Romania, Western Europe and the Orient. The phrase "comparative art collection" points to the donor's intention to highlight the specificity of Romanian art in a world context.The Dumitru and Maria Stefanescu – Col. Gheorghe Preda collection. The contents of the collection reveals the preference for decorative arts. The collectors show a special interest in the creations of Romanian artists who worked mainly in the second half of the 19th century: Sava Hentia (Portrait of Woman in Black), Constantin Lecca (Portrait of a Man), Gheorghe Tattarescu (Portrait of a Young Woman), Nicolae Grigorescu (Street in Vitré) and Stefan Luchian (Portrait of a Young Girl). The collection also includes valuable oriental art objects.The Josefina and Eugen Taru collection. The collection, which entered the museum's patrimony in 1992, comprises 152 pieces, among which 38 works signed by Eugen Taru, paintings and graphic works by Romanian masters, icons on wood and glass, as well as art objects from the Far East. The Josefina and Eugen Taru donation includes works illustrative of the respective artists' thematic and vision: oil paintings by well-known Romanian painters like Ioan Andreescu, Stefan Luchian, Gheorghe Petrascu, Theodor Pallady, Nicolae Tonitza, Iosif Iser, Francisc Sirato. The selection also includes other contemporary artists in whose gift Taru believed, like Stefan Constantinescu (Nude) and Ion Pacea (Flowers in Black Vase).

by Plural magazine