Launch of the “TONITZA” album (second edition) by Doinea Pauleanu

DOINA PĂULEANU released at the SENSO Gallery the second edition of the “TONITZA” album (Monitorul Oficial publishing and printing house).

“I was troubled when I was asked to write and design this monograph in the format of those dedicated to other great artists, because it is difficult to write about a great love. Tonitza is my great love and I would have liked to keep it discreet and not to make it public”- PhD Doina Păuleanu

The SENSO Art Gallery (Bucharest, Bd. Unirii no. 15) hosted the launch event of the Tonitza album, second edition, made by PhD Doina Păuleanu, Director of the Constanţa Art Museum. Presented in special graphic conditions, the volume was published by Monitorul Oficial Publishing and Printing House, a traditional partner of the well-known art critic and historian. ANCA VLAD – President of FILDAS Art, ANCA IVAŞCU – editor-in-chief of Monitorul Oficial Publishing and Printing House, RUXANDRA GAROFEANU – art critic and of course, the author, DOINA PĂULEANU spoke at the launch event, which brought together personalities of the cultural and artistic life, art critics, visual artists, writers, actors, musicians, friends and collaborators of the author.

The event was supported by FILDAS Art and Catena, through the CATENA for ART Program and was organized almost half a year after the successful launch, also at the SENSO Art Gallery in Bucharest, of Doina Păuleanu’s book, “The silent life of nature. Flowers, fruits, delicacies and objects in modern Romanian painting, 1916 – 1946” (volume II, Monitorul Oficial Publishing and Printing House 2018). It should be noted that all the openings of the exhibitions that take place at the SENSO Art Gallery are presented by the author of the album, Doina Păuleanu.

“We also know and admire what is good and valuable, that’s why we support you and we are your partners” – said Anca Vlad, President of FILDAS Art, “I appreciate the special graphic conditions of this book and of the other art albums. I invite you to admire now two works from our collection, signed by Nicolae Tonitza and which you have never seen before. I am also pleased to give you the news: next year we will move to a beautiful space, on Calea Victoriei, corner with Lipscani. Thank you ladies and everyone present.”

“In general, my book is an expression of admiration for all those who preceded me in this investigation and I have the certainty that I owe them the way I relate to the artist. My connection with Tonitza was very special. I can say that I loved him… Because I consider him the most beloved of the earthly painters and it is clear that I am not alone in this endeavor. Tonitza achieves some fabulous rates at all the auctions where his works are present and it is natural to be so (…) Nicolae Tonitza’s painting was the pure expression of his grace and unshakable work. Nothing more – nothing less. And that’s a lot! ” – said Doina Păuleanu.

Among the titles of the chapters included in the book we mention: “The beginnings”, “The first manifestations and associative forms”, “The group of four”, “Group exhibitions, facts and events from 1926 – 1933”, “In a small group, 1934 – 1937” or “The last exhibition, other facts and events, 1938 – 1940”.

The content is very well documented and, together with the illustrations of the great artist’s works, the author invites the reader to a fascinating, unique journey, unforgettable in the world of color and artistic sensitivity of what he considers “his great love”. With a richly documented text and an impressive number of illustrations, the album invites you on a journey into the world of color and artistic sensibility. As Nicolae Tonitza indulges in the pleasure of drawing and painting, Doina Păuleanu feels the joy of revealing to us a painter whose creed is color and whose muse is reality. Tonitza was a painter dedicated to the miracle of childhood and to the the delicacy of light and, moreover, a creator that was aware of his role, involved in the cultural life of the time, in which he wanted to achieve the artistic education of a completely disoriented audience.

The first edition of the prestigious volume whose graphic concept is also signed by Roland Edgar Vasiliu, was launched in 2014. Both editions continue the series of works also published by Monitorul Oficial and signed by PhD Doina Păuleanu: “The group of four (Nicolae Tonitza, Francisc Șirato, Ștefan Dimitrescu, Oscar Han)” and “Romanian painters in Balchik”.

Anca Ivașcu, editor-in-chief, Monitorul Oficial Publishing and Printing House:

“I’m glad to see so many of you here at this event… It is like a validation of the notion of friend, of the fact that all those present came here, to the Senso Gallery, for the love of books and for the launch of the Tonitza album by Mrs. Doina Păuleanu, an old and good friend and collaborator of our publishing house. When we say Doina Păuleanu, we do not only mention Romanian Painters in Balchik, the Royalty and the Sea or the Group of Four, which also includes Tonitza, but also Tonitza and again Tonitza, because the album we are launching today is a reissue of the one that appeared two years ago. We have improved the graphics, we have changed a few paintings, but also the cover, choosing a face that, in my opinion, is the expression of sublime innocence. We considered that there is a series of works that must appear in the selection of Mrs. Doina Păuleanu and that will improve this book. I am glad that this book appeared in the Centenary Year, because Nicolae Tonitza fought at Turtucaia and was taken prisoner in the Cârjali camp, he proved to be an authentic Romanian and he fought for Greater Romania on the front, with a gun, with the brush and the pen…. We took care as a publisher of the book – object, the content belonging of course to Mrs. Doina Păuleanu and we made sure that the reproduction of the paintings and the layout were in line with the expectations of the lover and the fine connoisseur of art. I want to thank Mrs. Anca Vlad for her generosity of hosting us, for everything you do for Romanian culture and for being a constant partner of our publishing house… ”

Ruxandra Garofeanu, art critic:

“I don’t know how many there are, but I can certify that Andrei Pleşu, Dan C. Mihăilescu, Pavel Șușară, Ioana Vlasiu, Academician Constantin Bălăceanu Stolnici, Tudor Octavian, Ioan Opriș spoke highly of Doina Păuleanu and I’m sure I haven’t exhausted this honorable list. I am glad that I have the opportunity to talk now about Doina Păuleanu, whom I have known for many years, since I was making television documentaries on the long journey of art from the creator’s workshop to a museum or a collection. At that time, when we were not talking about private collections, but only about museums, Doina Păuleanu was the one who was struggling to obtain valuable works for the Constanța Art Museum, which now has impressive collections and is at the top. But I didn’t imagine that in 15-20 years she would launch over 15 great books. And what books! One always wonders when she has the time to write, to document and to take care of the Constanța Art Museum, to open exhibitions, to be a curator, to organize high-profile events, to travel and to write… I want to congratulate her for the second edition of the Tonitza album and for the courage to approach this subject, after Barbu Brezeanu dedicated over 30 years to the creation of Nicolae Toniza! I am grateful to her for the imagistic access to works from very important private collections that are not accessible to the general public. Congratulations Doina Păuleanu for this complex book that says a lot about an artist considered in his time and after the greatest painter of Romanians”.

Doina Păuleanu, author of the “Tonitza” album:

“We are looking here and now at original works by Tonitza and I often think about what an exhibition of the group of four must have looked like at the time and what a delight it must have been for the high spirits of the century. You know that along with Nicolae Tonitza, there were two other fabulous painters – Francisc Șirato and Ștefan Dimitrescu, as well as the sculptor Oscar Han. What united these artists was the exigency of the artistic act, the common doctrine being only that of quality, a deep understanding of art, a constant search for the fundamental truths in whose name they lived and created, a perennial value and a pedagogical vocation that they manifested, two of them – Tonitza and Dimitrescu – being teachers and rectors of the School of Fine Arts in Iași. If in the Senso Gallery we can admire some extraordinary works from the collection of Mrs. Anca Vlad, you can imagine what an exhibition from 1933 must have looked like, when next to the masterpieces of Tonitza, a perfect host, were the deeply disturbing works of Francisc Șirato or those of Ștefan Dimitrescu who reached a kind of fluency of forms, which he had repressed. Oscar Han was with them with the monumentality of his sculptures and it must be said that that period was good in his creation, he also made the wonderful bust of Queen Mary located in Balchik. I think that an exhibition by Șirato, Tonitza, Dimitrescu and Oscar Han was a real joy to the eye… Tonitza’s painting was marked by the beginning of his creation with hints of harshness that inspired him in the war during which he fought and became a prisoner, times from which he got the disease that tormented him his entire life. It sent him to Techirghiol, then to Mangalia and that’s how he discovered Balchik, an opportunity for me to connect definitively and irrevocably with the creation of this painter and to be considered today a specialist in Tonitza’s work. Although before me there were people of extraordinary intellectual scope, such as Barbu Brezianu. Nicolae Tonitza is one of the great museum painters, who had a constant success both in life and after his death that came so early. He was a painter who searched for himself and found himself quite quickly, watching and deepening the message of his work… He saw Ștefan Luchian in 1913 and was shattered because he could only remember his eyes like two deep black arrows on a face soaked in suffering but, to his regret, he did not see the palette that would have told him a lot about the disturbing connection of colors with the brush and the canvas but he understood the depth and originality of the work. Nicolae Tonitza was one of the artists who considered Luchian, the founder of our modernity, brilliant and did everything he could to bring the message of his work to the public’s attention. Tonitza had the chance to start painting his own children. He had two daughters and a son, Catrina, Irina and Petru, and thus one of the most original directions of his art was born: that of a painter of children’s faces. At Vălenii de Munte, where he stayed between 1921 and 1924, this extraordinary direction emerged, which makes him one of the most beloved painters on earth today. At the same time appears another genre that Tonitza would love, and in the collection of Mrs. Anca Vlad there are three of the most disturbing compositions from the beginning of Tonitza’s creation, who dedicated some masterpieces to still life. In the years 1925 – 1926 he started to paint nudes; their line of an extraordinary purity and harmony is well known. He said that he liked to paint the back nudes so that the pure line of the body contour is best seen, without anything disturbing a splendid, serene and secret harmony of the nudes, masterpieces for modern Romanian art. Nicolae Tonitza was a successful painter, people were snatching his work, but he did not compromise on quality. He had a hard family life, he had to support his wife and three children, but also widowed sisters with several children. He was always looking for… cash, that’s what he said in his correspondence that Barbu Brezianu took care of. Those were colossal letters because Tonitza wrote wonderfully, almost as beautifully as she painted. He knew how to penetrate the plastic phenomenon and had the desire to put it into words and make it accessible to everyone. He believed in the sacred values of art and regardless of the lesser or greater love he had for an artist, when he saw a perfect work, an extraordinary exhibition, he went beyond anything and described it in appropriate words. That is why his texts are fundamental in understanding contemporary artists, and Tonitza, with a deep understanding of the artistic craft he learned in the School of Fine Arts in Iasi, as well as in Munich and Paris, remains one of the most cultivated painters and one of the most valuable craftsmen of the Romanian art. I had this certainty recently, when I went to the great Corneliu Baba exhibition that Romania opened in China and which was attended by many museums and private collections, and on one of the central walls of this exhibition was a nude seen from behind and Master Tonitza’s lesson was undeniable. In fact, Master Baba himself wrote wonderful pages about Tonitza, just as Tonitza wrote about his contemporaries. Please read the passionate diary, like a novel by Corneliu Baba, with all the intimate thoughts of the 1944 – 1965 period… This was Tonitza… When Mrs. Anca Ivașcu proposed to me to write and conceive this monograph in the format of those dedicated to other great artists, I was disturbed, because it is difficult to write about a great love. Tonitza is my great love and I would have liked to keep it discreet and not make it public. And now it’s at its second edition. And I think we will not stop here, because Tonitza is liked and the way this book looks, the excellent graphic conditions in which Monitorul Oficial knows how to honour the prestige and the vocation to launch art books are also manifested through this second edition of the Tonitza volume. I thank Ruxandra Garofeanu for being with me at every occasion, I thank Anca Ivașcu for the choice she made and the short time she gave me, being forced to write under the pressure of time and feelings that found such a form of expression. Thanks to Mrs. Anca Vlad who provided us with this fabulous space in which the works of Nicolae Tonitza shine, as well as the work and personality of this painter to whom I had the chance to dedicate a new monograph, after years of absence from bookstores. I hope you will enjoy reading this book written breathlessly but with great love and understanding for a painter who is so important in our culture and spirituality!”

“In his diaries and notes, Corneliu Baba was outraged that the state publishing house chose to print the writings on Tonitza’s art in only 1500 copies.” – concluded Anca Ivașcu.

“I do not hide from you that today, such a print run in the art world is a luxury. It depends on you, on those who read and love art, as the exhaustion of an edition means an open door to another editorial project. For you we exist and print such books and we would be extremely happy as a book that lives longer than a man has achieved its message and reached generations as it deserves. Only Mrs. Păuleanu could do today a work about Tonitza that has a correct, real, authentic message, that represents the personality that is being talked about, as it deserves”.

About Doina Păuleanu PhD in Art History, University of Bucharest and director of the Constanța Art Museum since 1990, curator and permanent collaborator of the SENSO Gallery in Bucharest

Doina Păuleanu graduated from the Nicolae Grigorescu Institute of Fine Arts Bucharest (today the National Academy of Arts), History and Theory of Art section. She has published numerous books and art albums, works of art history, urban anthropology, imagology and cultural management – Constanţa. The adventure of a European project, 2003; Balchik in Romanian painting, 1st ed. – 2004, 2nd ed. – 2007; Constanţa 1878 – 1928. The late modernity spectacle, 2006; Romanian painters in Balchik, 1st ed. – 2008, 2nd ed. – 2009; The Cathedral „St. Apostles Peter and Paul”, 2008 (main author); „Carol I” Royal Mosque Constanţa, 2010 (main author); Singularity and imaginary reconstruction. Romanian painters in Brittany 1878 – 1940, Bucharest, 2010; The casino in Constanţa. Bohemia, leisure and European heritage at the Black Sea, 2011; Group of four, Bucharest, 2012; Tonitza, 2014; Royalty and the sea, 2015; The silent life of nature. Flowers, fruits, delicacies and objects in modern Romanian painting. 1846 – 1916, 2016; The silent life of nature. Flowers, fruits, delicacies and objects in modern Romanian painting. 1916 – 1946, 2018. Her work has been recognised through special distinctions and awards, including: Prize for the national cultural heritage, the Ministry of Culture and Cults and the Prize for criticism of the Visual Artists’ Union of Romania – 2003, Order of Cultural Merit in the rank of Officer – 2004, Margareta Sterian National Award for Museology – 2004, George Oprescu Award for Art History received from the Romanian Academy – 2007 or Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters, France – 2008.

Thank you for your attention.