20th Century Romanian Painting

Discover the great classics of the 20th century Romanian painting.

By Cotroceni National Museum

Muzeul Național Cotroceni

Landscape with trees (1914) by Stefan PopescuCotroceni National Museum


Landscapes, flowers, still life, the Romanian village, the city of Balcic or portraits are just some of the themes the eyes will discover in this series of works. The paintings highlight the Romanian creative spirit. Every painter interprets, in their own manner, what they choose to paint, leaving their fingerprint on the coloring, lights and shadows, on the artistic language in general. The main feature of the works is the representation of reality as a whole, the artist’s feelings, thoughts and experiences.

Café in Balchik (Circa 1929) by Kimon LoghiCotroceni National Museum

The exhibition

It presents works rarely visible in the public space and
nearly forgotten even by the audiences interested in art. With a wide
selection, the exhibition gives the visitor access into a world in
which color was a fundamental feature of Romanian painting, and the
painters were focused on static natures with flowers, realistic landscapes and “emotion”-related themes.

Farmhouse (1934) by Rudolf Schweitzer-CumpănăCotroceni National Museum

The Romanian Village

Influenced by various art movements, the Romanian painters
of the 20th century remained faithful to the authentic themes associated with
our country, which they would paint in an admirable way, expressing their love
for the Romanian village and the peasant. The farmhouse, the folk costume,
portraits of peasants represent subjects that Nicolae Grigorescu, Arthur
Verona, Camil Ressu, Rudolf Schweitzer-Cumpana and others approached in their

This painting is made into a thick paste, in successive layers, the chromatic effects being obtained by strong contrasts.

Peasant house (1867) by Nicolae GrigorescuCotroceni National Museum

It is in the folk art that Nicolae Grigorescu, one of the founders of modern Romanian painting, found his source of inspiration.

In the back of the courtyard (1914) by Stefan LuchianCotroceni National Museum

Luchian's landscapes are characterized by color variations corresponding to deep spiritual experiences. Subtlety, simplicity, brightness, all are perfectly represented in this finely painted piece.

Peasant woman in landscape (Circa 1900) by Arthur VeronaCotroceni National Museum

With the yoke at the river (1910/1915) by Arthur VeronaCotroceni National Museum

Arthur Verona loved the picturesque Romanian landscape and the peasants' traditional activities.

Folk musicians (Circa 1934) by Dumitru GhiaţăCotroceni National Museum

Folk musicians - a painting with a rich color, that captures fragments of Romanian village life.

The white kerchief and the flower are details of the Romanian folk costume.

Village on the water bank (1912/1920) by Camil RessuCotroceni National Museum

Sinaia - House in the woods (1964) by Dumitru GhiaţăCotroceni National Museum

Landscape and still life 

The collection of the Cotroceni National Museum includes works with various themes and brings the exceptional Romanian art to the attention of the public. Each artist interpreted what they chose to paint in their own manner. Landscapes and the still lifes are commonly found in the works of Romanian painters in the 20th century.

Landscape (AB) (Circa 1920) by Aurel BăeşuCotroceni National Museum

Băeșu's painting is inspired by life, consumed by an inner force. In this work of art, the color tones are discreet and bright at the same time.

Landscape (1910) by Samuel MutznerCotroceni National Museum

The composition depicts a settlement with cramped houses and two church spires in the background.

Seascape (1934) by Gheorghe PetrașcuCotroceni National Museum

Garden with olive trees (1925) by Henri CatargiCotroceni National Museum

Walls (1927/1939) by Lucian GrigorescuCotroceni National Museum

Bridge over Neajlov (1978) by Hristu DumitrescuCotroceni National Museum

The colors of this painting range from green to ocher of different shades, blue and bright white

Landscape by Iosif Iser (1935) by Iosif IserCotroceni National Museum

Trees landscape (1933/1940) by Adam BălţatuCotroceni National Museum

Landscape with boats (1970/1975) by Dan BăjenaruCotroceni National Museum

Winter landscape (1929/1935) by Rudolf Schweitzer-CumpănăCotroceni National Museum

Still life with flowers (1908/1912) by Samuel MutznerCotroceni National Museum

Rich brush is especially present in the depiction of flowers, giving them a spatial vibration which deliberately comes in contrast to the rest of the composition, more "settled", quieter

Still life with vase (1960) by Alexandru CiucurencuCotroceni National Museum

A delicate and pastel palette, concise drawing and compositions tending to geometry.

Portrait of Princess Maria (1900) by Costin PetrescuCotroceni National Museum

Portrait and self-portrait

The 20th century Romanian painters are remarkable for the narrative quality of their paintings, for their landscapes and still lifes, but also for their portraits. The Cotroceni National Museum's collection holds several portraits and self-portraits. The artists approached this genre under unique circumstances and using different tools, but their representations—especially when seen together—all raise important questions about perception and reflection.

Self-portrait (1930/1932) by Sever BuradaCotroceni National Museum

Portrait of Lucia Beller (1936) by Aurel BordenacheCotroceni National Museum

This painting is the only image of the mysterious artist Lucia Beller.

Old man reading (1908/1935) by Octav BăncilăCotroceni National Museum

Harlequin (Circa) by Corneliu BabaCotroceni National Museum

Richly colored, this painting preserves areas of darkness, in a permanent dialogue with the lightened parts

Baba`s figurative material is ordered in stable, geometrical structures. Centered, or displayed in pyramidal settings, the force lines of his characters are closing up harmoniously.

Still life with flowers (1908/1912) by Samuel MutznerCotroceni National Museum

To be continued....

This is just a part of the Romanian painting story. If you liked the collection, you are welcome to visit the Cotroceni National Museum and discover more precious works.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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