THE PORTRAIT AS BIOGRAPHY OF INNOCENCE. A ROMANIAN PHOTOGRAPHER IN INTERWAR AUSTRIA. DUMITRU FURNICĂ-MINOVICI (1897-1982)

Starting March 22nd 2019

THEMATIC EXHIBITION IN VIENNA, AUSTRIA

THE PORTRAIT AS BIOGRAPHY OF INNOCENCE. A ROMANIAN PHOTOGRAPHER IN INTERWAR AUSTRIA. DUMITRU FURNICĂ-MINOVICI (1897-1982)

The Bucharest Municipality Museum cordially invites you to attend the opening of the exhibition “The Portrait as Biography of Innocence. A Romanian Photographer in Interwar Romania. Dumitru Funrică-Minovici (1897-1982)”. The event will take place on March 22nd 2019, at 19.00, at the Romanian Cultural Institute in Vienna (Argentinierstraße 39, 1040).

The team at the Bucharest Municipality Museum, who put together and who will present this exhibition, will reveal the story of Dumitru Funrică-Minovici in Austria, who was born on December 14th 1897, son of Zaharia and Elena Furnică, nee Minovici. The encounter with the historians and Dumitru Funrică-Minovici’s photos represents one of those rare occasions when we can discover an interwar world lustful for life, serenity and very preoccupied to maintain its innocence.

“Although ever since his childhood he manifested a special attraction for art, his parents wanted him to study at a technical university after graduating high-school.

Thus, he entered the Faculty of Mines and Oil in Touluse. After graduation he completed his studies with a PhD in Paris, at Ecole du Petrole.

Upon his return in the country, he was hired by the Mining Credit Society (which back then was supplying Romanian oil in the entire Europe), at its branch in Vienna – <<Cremin>> – as general director, a position which required him to travel throughout Europe almost daily in order to make contracts.

This way he had the possibility to use his free time to visit museums, antique shops, art auctions, collecting items which he sent back home with the intention of setting up a museum upon his return.

With regards to this plan, he was assisted by his uncles on his mother’s side, the three Minovici brothers, who even helped him found a museum of Western art (in 1941, with the help of Italian architect Enzo Canella), next to the Museum of Folk Art “Dr. Nicolae Minovici”. Thus, in 1945, the building that hosted those objects of art became a museum, which Dumitru Minovici, just like his uncles, donated to the Romanian Academy. He was named its director and, at the same time, was employed at the Academy’s “Stamps” department where he was approving the various items that were to be purchased (book, drawings, manuscripts etc).

During this time he was also often involved in the Acquisition committees of various museums. After the death of his uncle, Dr. Nicolae Minovici, according to his will he was also named director of the Museum of Folk Art. Engineer Dimitrie Furnică Minovici died in 1982.

With an admirable intelectual strength, Dumitru Furnică Minovici managed to adapt to times. After coming out of the First World War at the start of his youth, and being sent by his parents to ”learn a serious job” while his love for art remained a hobby for more than 20 years, he eventually earned his living for more than three decades (starting with 1948) using the experience he had gained at the art auctions he took part in to grow his collection of mediaeval art. Something he had never thought of during the mid `20s when he started working for the Mining Credit.

On one hand, the exhibition will present the public what passion for photography meant for an interwar freelancer, and on the other hand it will represent a source of very interesting anthropologic information regarding the middle class European man of the interwar period, because most of the people photographed by Dimitrie Furnică Minovici were not Romanians, but his business partners from across Central Europe.

The 5000+ collection of photos which belonged to Dimitrie Furnică Minovici was digitized between 2017 and 2018, and the current exhibition showcases only a single theme out of the many varied ones in the collection.”

Dr. Adrian Majuru

The EXHIBITION “The Portrait as Biography of Innocence. A Romanian Photographer in Interwar Romania. Dumitru Funrică-Minovici (1897-1982)” presents the photography skills of engineer Dumitru Funrică-Minovici, unknown until today, and to show the Austrian public, for the first time, a part of his photographs. The exhibition is designed by the Bucharest Municipality Museum with the support of the Romanian Cultural Institute in Vienna, Austria.

 

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