The Art department of the Bucharest Municipality Museum is preparing an exhibition dedicated to Bucharest’s representations in paintings and drawings that will allow visitors to uncover more unusual aspects of the city as it was in the past (end 19th century – 20th century), featuring the relics of its characteristic picturesque atmosphere. The exhibition will be open to visitors starting with august 2017, and will unveil veritable “documents” on Bucharest’s cityscape, along with sequences from the life of characters typical of the city, restoring the dynamic and continuously changing existence that made Bucharest what it is today.

The title “Bucharest in Fine Art” was bestowed upon the Municipality’s art collection in 1952, during the period of fusion between the Pinacotheca and Simu Museum (demolished in 1961), a name that was kept until 1977, when the respective exhibition was closed to the public. Resuming the subject that had been taken on at the time, the Pinacotheca of today – part of the Bucharest Municipality Museum – recovers a theme that has always been apparent in the works of many important painters and sketch artists, witnesses of events and elements of interest for the general public from their own existential and aesthetic experience.

Paraphrasing the statement of a renowned author, one may say that there have been (and still are) as many versions of Bucharest as there have been (and are) Bucharest dwellers. Subjectivity multiplies the kaleidoscopic facets of this place already complex in its nature, famous for its contrasts, re-definable not only regarding its physical, concrete state, of written documents and photographs, but also in the domain of sensibilities, of perceptions, owed to the most able of observers of images – artists. Thanks to them, in time, a veritable archive of emotions was formed, at once personalized and veridic in the way it confirms the lucid intuitions of people on a formal, essential and definitive past of the Romanian Capital.

As one of the historical preoccupations of the Pinacotheca as a cultural institution was to collect in time and value aspects of the city, the Bucharest Municipality Museum naturally continues the series of events that evoke the history of the Pinacotheca, through a selection of oil paintings, watercolors and sketches dedicated to this generous subject, inspired by the aspect of a city that was once justifiably called Little Paris. Streets, squares, boulevards or well-known buildings – some still standing – can now receive a chance to be marked down in time, thanks to art and the phenomenon of collecting and valuing, undergone by museums.

The ensemble of works chosen for the exhibition contains the arguments for the stylistic cohesion of old both representative for Romanian space as well as de-structured, nowadays, through random architectural solutions. Recreating the lost harmony, now part of legend, the frames of the past emit a subtle familiarity, generated by the ineffable lyricism of affective-mnemonic sediments through which contemporaneity can relate to the more revolute ages.

The exhibition offers a veritable compendium of modern styles through which local creators have synchronized with the artistic time of Occidental Europe, miraculously recovering centuries of alienation with the help of an exceptional appetite for culture.

Works signed by artists such as Auguste Raffet (1804 – 1860), Carol Popp de Szathmary (1812 – 1887), Henri Trenk (1818 – 1892), Sava Henţia (1848 – 1904), Juan Alpar (1855 – 1901), Nicolae Vermont (1866 – 1932), Constantin Artachino (1870 – 1954), Ipolit Strâmbu (1871 – 1934), Octav Băncilă (1872 – 1944), Richard Canisius (1872 – 1934), Gheorghe Petraşcu (1872 – 1949), Emilian Lăzărescu (1878 – 1934), Alexandru Poitevin Skeletti (1879 – 1959), Apgar Baltazar (1880 – 1909), Camil Ressu (1880 – 1962), Jean Al. Steriadi (1880 – 1956), Marius Bunescu (1881 – 1971), Samuel Mützner (1884 – 1959), Eustatiu Stonenescu (1884 – 1957), Schweitzer Cumpăna (1886 – 1975), Ştefan Dimitrescu (1886 – 1933), Nicolae Tonitza (1886 – 1940), Dumitru Ghiaţă (1888 – 1972), Adam Bălţatu (1889 – 1979), Lucian Grigorescu (1894 – 1965), Vasile Popescu (1894 – 1944), Iosif Rosenbluth (1894 – 1975), Max Herman Maxy (1895 – 1971), Aurel Băeşu (1896 – 1928), Sabin Popp (1896 – 1928), Coca Romano (1897 – 1993), Margareta Sterian (1897 – 1992), Paul Verona (1897 – 1966), Micaela Eleutheriade (1900 – 1982), Ileana Rădulescu (1901 – 1981), Traian Sfinţescu (1905 – 1959), Adina Paula Moscu (1908 – 1979), Lili Pancu (1908 – 2006), Valentin Hoefflich (1910 – 1995), Coca Meţianu (1910 – 2014), Vasile Brătulescu (1916 – 1981), Alma Redlinger (n. 1924), Clarette Wachtel (1926 – 2011) and others help bring back the “Bucharest of old”, offering those who are interested the chance to discover milestones of beauty that are permanently valid.

Dr. Liana Ivan-Ghilia