A large Stefan Luchian exhibition can be seen in Romania once every 50 years and therefore becomes a remarkable artistic event. A “Luchian and the Independents” exhibition becomes even more representative as it places Luchian at the turn of centuries, alongside other reputable artists around whom the Romanian painting rebelled, renewed and modernized. The Manifesto signed by the Independents in the spring of 1896 announced major changes in the native artistic life, preparing the Romanian culture for the art of the 20th century.
At the “Luchian and the Independents” exhibition you discovered portraits, landscapes, Luchian’s Studio, and also the well-known flower paintings.
Banulescu Group Portrait
Group portrait with the 1888 generation of the School of Belle Arte. In the center, the teacher and school principal, Theodor Aman, joined by the painting professor Gheorghe Tattarescu (left) and the aesthetic professor, C.I. Stăncescu (right). The painting is completed vertically by the anatomy teacher, N. Polizu (below), and the sculpture professors, Karl Storck and Ioan Georgescu (above). Stefan Luchian, a student at Belle Arte until 1889, is portrayed on the top third row, the last on the left.
Luchian’s workshop has awakened interest and passions since his time, receiving visits from notable personalities such as Tudor Arghezi, Virgil Cioflec, Alexandru Bogdan-Piteşti and Nicolae Tonitza. The majority of the exhibited pieces are preserved today in the collection of the Botosani County Museum and are surrounded by vintage interior objects designed to recreate a small, intimate universe of the artist.
“On that side – three wooden chairs, a fir cupboard covered with painting utensils, a few rustic pots and some small oriental decorative objects” – this is how Nicolae Tonitza remembers Luchian’s workshop from 1913.
Portraits of family members appear recursively in the painting of Stefan Luchian, especially that of his favorite niece, Laura Cocea. “The Brothers” is a group portrait of Paulina and Ernest Cocea’s children(cousins of the painter) Laura, the future painter and wife of Traian Cornescu, Vlad and Vintila.
Even if he recreates the image of a famous typology from the 1900 literary café in Bucharest, Alecu Literatu also uses one of Luchian’s cousin as a model. The portrait of Anetta presents a cousin from his mother’s side, Anetta Poenaru.
The years 1908 and 1909 point to important moments in defining his unmistakable style. The pastels made at Brebu (1908) and the compositions with landscapes and Jews from Moineşti (1909) become exceptional cycles, completing Luchian’s pictorial creation.
The Luchian-Vermont- Artachino group homogenized at the “Independents” exhibition in May 1896 when, together with the poet and collector Alexandru Bogdan-Piteşti, the first Romanian artistic manifesto was signed.
“Without enraging no one, no venom and no imputations to the nullities and the weak who bar the way of the young, and perhaps of the strong ones, we part ways to try to build an independent art, to release us from this pressing burden. A true artist will always reject inspections and controls imposed by the ignorant in a purely artistic institution … In front of the official art, we represent the independent art” Bucharest, April 26, 1896
Flowers make up an extraordinary chapter of Luchian’s work, expressing, along with landscapes, the painter’s love towards nature, the depth of his observation and the identification of his private state of mind. Anemones, Roses, Zinnias, Carnations, and Poppies make up the full range of flowers painted over the past 10 years, highlighting Luchian’s wild passion for poetry and color.