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Catch your breath while admiring the dialogue between two arts: music and paiting. By following the tour we sugest, you will not only discover the link between visual artists and musicians, but also the mutual admiration expressed in the work of arts of these great spirits.

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Corneliu Baba Collection – George Enescu
„Among the great artists of the world, Enescu stayed with me as an all-encompassing icon of the genius artist and of one of the noblest thinkers in art. I was still working on the portrait when news of his death reached me. I finished it after several months of tormenting work. It was presented at the Dalles Hall exhibition (1955), it was the key piece in the room, but critics hardly accepted it. Nobody understood, except perhaps those who knew his huge spiritual personality, why I imagined him with his head lowered, his back a little hunched, with that figure characteristic only to him, and why I didn’t see in him a proud and assured musician.
[...] The portrait is now in my workshop, where I paint a second version, made to express what was not expressed earlier.” (Corneliu Baba, Confessions and Diaries, vol. I, 1944 – 1965, The National Museum of Art of Romania, Bucharest, 2018)

Iosif Iser CollectionHarlequinade, Singer in blue with a musical instrument, Interior with two odalisques – Paulina and Mariana, Oriental Woman
On this second stop we propose not only this artist’s works, but also objects that belonged to him: four musical instruments were included in the exhibition. They were used by the artist as props for scenes with few characters interpreted by models. The artist himself decided their ‘pose’ with various attitudes and accessories.
One of the frequent motifs in his famous oriental women compositions is the theorbo, a string instrument from the lute family, well used by Iser as an accent in numerous paintings and drawings, in the late 1920s and especially in the early 1940s.
Iosif Iser often compared the drawing exercise to the musical one: “I was drawing constantly. The drawings are always for me what technique exercises are for a pianist.”

Elena end Anastase Simu Collection – Gentleman with a lute (Jacques Henri Lambert) and The Chorus (Hedwig Mechle Grossmann)
Lawyer, diplomat and politician, Anastase Simu (1854 – 1935) was one of the most important Romanian collectors of Western European art.
Gentleman with a lute, by Jacques Henri Lambert was acquired by Simu in Paris in 1907, the very year it was painted. The author distanced himself from the growing modernist trends, choosing subjects disconnected from immediacy, usually scenes with one or several characters dressed mostly in 17-th century European costumes treated in an unequivocally figurative style.
The Chorus, by the German artist Hedwig Mechle Grossmann, stands between the genre scene and the group portrait. The characters look in different directions as if interpreting a polyphonic score, resulting in a dynamic image. The lack of depth of the composition, while all characters are placed in the foreground, as well as the angle from which they are seen make the onlooker to feel accepted in the space of the painting and to almost become the intimate spectator of the concert.

 

Garabet Avachian Collection – Still life with guitar (Lucian Grigorescu)
Considered by the art critics one of the best Romanian colourists, Lucian Grigorescu always searched, through the orange shade in his paintings, for the red shade of the soil in the Dobruja province where he had spent his childhood. The southern colours, the brown, the orange, the ochre, are present in Still life with guitar as part of the chromatics closely linked to his biography.
Collector Garabet Avachian was a violin professor at the Ciprian Porumbescu Conservatory in Bucharest, where for a long time he taught many a virtuoso of this instrument.

Elisabeta and Moise Weinberg Collection – Interior in the artist’s studio (Gheorghe Petrașcu), Tatar woman with violin, Barbu the violinist , Still life with musical instruments (Iosif Iser)
The Elisabeta and Moise Weinberg Collection proves both the friendship between the collectors and the artists, but also the latters’ sensitivity to music.
To Iosif Iser, inspiration from the imaginary world of music is almost a personal hallmark. Thus it is only natural that his works featuring musical instruments are present in the Elisabeta and Moise Weinberg Collection, the Weinbergs being some of his keenest collectors. In the paintings Tatar woman with violin (1945) and Still life with musical instruments (1940), the instruments are attentively placed and seen from a monumentalizing angle.
In the same collection one can admire a small pseudo-portrait, in gouache, of Barbu the Violinist (Rom. Barbu Lăutaru) and his violins. This was a famous musician in the Romanian Principalities in the first half of the 19th century and became a favourite subject for Iser between 1930 and 1940.
One should not miss the painting by Gheorghe Petrașcu Interior in the artist’s studio where the elements of the composition (the easel, the bookcase, the table and instruments) revolve around the central image of a guitar. The studio, a space for toiling, learning and delecting, may synthesize, according to Petraşcu, the concept that some cultural historians named ’the modern system of the arts’.

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