The Garden of Paradise. Preparatory drawings.
“Frederic Storck and Cecilia Cuțescu Storck” Museum
Exhibition space: Cecilia Cuțescu Storck’s painting workshop.
The exhibition will include approximately 15 preparatory drawings, made for the mural painting in the lobby of the Storck house, which symbolically represents the Paradise Garden. It is a very valuable series of works that will now be exhibited for the first time, being brought for the first time to the attention of the public, but also to the attention of specialists. The exhibition will be opened at the “Frederic Storck and Cecilia Cuțescu Storck” Museum between Mai 5, 2021 and June 27, 2021.
Together with her husband, Frederic, Cecilia Cuțescu Storck decorated in a completely unique way their own residence which became an emblematic house-workshop in the Bucharest urban landscape.
The Storck House was built after the marriage of the two, with the collaboration of the architect Alexandru Clavel. The artists’ residence is built on the outside in Germanic, Nordic style, while on the inside the architectural decoration mixes various styles, the traditional Romanian one, oriental and southern influences. For the facades, the owners chose a Pompeian red, the facades being rhythmed by apparent beams, completed with ornamental stone elements, sculpted by Frederic Storck himself.
The construction of the house was completed in 1911; between 1913 and 1917 the artist decorated the interior with numerous paintings of symbolist inspiration, having as subject female figures and a lush, paradisiacal vegetation, especially in the hall area of the house. The artist chooses to paint the walls of the house in encaustic, because the colors obtained are more intense and more vibrant.
The painting in the great hall of the house was probably inspired by her travels in Spain, where she visited many noble palaces surrounded by gardens which she describes as follows: “Birds of all sizes and brightly colored sang among the branches of the trees, swaying in the fragrant breeze of the southern countries. Palm trees and cacti were paired with stone statues and reliefs. Huge ferns stumbled under our feet and climbed the walls of the palace through whose windows the emerald sea called us”. To recreate this type of exotic atmosphere, the artist used as a model the exotic vegetation in the greenhouses of the Ministry of Public Domains.
The wall painting in the artist’s house also resonates with the work of Paul Gauguin, Cecilia Cuțescu Storck being a great admirer of the famous painter; she said about him that “he followed his paths and dreams like a visionary, inspired by poetic countries, far from civilization, where he gathered with all the light and, from the curious aspects of the Tahitian places and beings, he rendered all the exotic beauty in his paintings.” The paradisiacal world, primitive and untouched by a civilization more and more connected to technology and more and more mercantile, is discovered by Cecilia Cuțescu Storck in its vicinity; her journey is only spiritual and not physical, as in the case of Gauguin.
Next to the main hall of the house, Cecilia Cuțescu Storck creates an impressive artist’s workshop, guarded by a green marble pillar, a replica of an architectural element from St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice. On the opposite wall are two large decorative panels entitled Earthly Love and Spiritual Love, painted between 1912 and 1915. The panels are separated by a fountain carved in stone by Frederic Storck, modeled on the decorations at the entrance to Colțea Church. Frederic also carved in wood the two doors of the main workshop, one that opened onto the garden and the other that led to a hallway making the conection with the sculpture workshop of the house. The decoration is inspired by the ornamentation of Orthodox church doors, and the ceiling is Moorish in style. In the long hall of the house are kept sculptures with religious themes and various portraits, lit by stained glass with circular mesh.
Unprecedented and very special are the preparatory drawings for the mural painting of the house, which will now be exhibited for the first time right near the spectacular painted hall. It is a continuation of the exhibition concept of promoting artist houses-workshops. The concept was developed by the Art Department during the years 2019-2020, through medallion exhibitions, such as: “The magic of the line. Ligia Macovei and Eminescu’s lyrics”, “Travel graphics. Cecilia Cuțescu Storck”, “Negative Aman”, “Carol Popp de Szathmári, illustrator and watercolorist ”.
Dr. Elena Olariu, Deputy Director of Art, Restoration, Conservation