CRITICAL REVIEW


          Ion Vlasiu made his debut in 1932 with two exhibitions, one in Targu-Mures, the other one in Cluj. His first works were marked by different imprints, from Rodin to Brancusi. However, the dominant influence was exerted by the latter; it is a remarkable fact that, in a period in which even Brancusi’s direct students increasingly moved away from their master’s direction, in Targu-Mures a youngster of only 24 years, holding few pieces of information regarding what was happening in Paris, which he had not visited yet, talked about the Maiastra, the "pure sculpture" or even the "sculptural truth". In Romania, few sculptors claimed back then that "a piece of fine art would even be able to live only through itself, through the shapes’ construction and harmony, through its own life, born from the balance between the line and the plan. In 1933, along with a group of nonconformist intellectuals, - Eduard Pamfil, Eduard Mezincescu, Olga Caba, Wolf Aichelburg - he edited in Cluj the sole number of the Herald Avant-garde magazine, in which he collaborated under the signature Saul Pelaghia, attacking the hypocrisy and chameleonic nature of his times’ society. The works exhibited in 1933, meaningfully entitled Rhythms (a title that has to be linked to expressionist poetics, also being present in Mattis-Teutsch’s Soul Rhythms) represented an attempt to abandon the "individual soul" in an effort of fellowship with the laws of matter and of the Universe. As ten years before, in the case of Milita Petrascu who still benefited directly from a Parisian artistic education and, most of all, from Brancusi’s teachings, the "abstraction" was essentially a larger and more profound realism, a break in the limited pattern of capturing daily reality. The privileged means of expression remained during his whole artistic career carving in stone or wood, perceived not only as a technique, but as a path of accessing the matter’s primordial means in the spirit of the time’s ideas. Vlasiu did not ignore modelling sculpture either. The portraits distort physiognomy in an expressionist manner, and the terracotta reliefs from the ‘30s, some religiously themed, a type of three-dimensional icons, store in the wide planes the carved shape’s memory. In 1936, he was part of Gusti’s sociological school, which conducted researches in Oas. He sculpted there a temple for Moiseni church. In 1939, he resumed that experience and he carved the cult furniture for the church in Diosti, Romanati County. The folk art’s geometrics and elementariness began to play a programmatic role in configuring his art, be it the sculpture or the painting that he started to systematically practice around 1940. Ion Vlasiu alternated carving with modelling, sculpture with 
painting, the tendency for symbolically featured abstraction - the Rhythms series from 1933, The Wildernesses of the War (1965-1970) or the Terrestrial Paradise, a wooden sculptural ensemble, fretted and coloured in the ‘80s - figuratively. A series of marble compositions, carved at Ruschita quarry, date back in 1943, including The Spectre, Angel, Maternity, The Chick etc. The material 
mentioned, used consistently for the first time, guided him towards a less coarse formal universe, with fluidities and undulations specific to marble. He is the author of many portraits and monumental projects of some important Romanian historical and cultural personalities: Balcescu, Avram IancuHoria, Closca and Crisan, Simion Barnutiu, the Transylvanian School representatives (a few monumental scale models), Eminescu, Creanga, Brancusi, Bacovia, Sadoveanu, Octavian Goga, Ioan LupasPerpessicius, Clody Bertola, Edgar Papu.


Fragment taken from Vlasiu, Ioana (coord.), Dicţionarul sculptorilor din România. Secolele XIX - XX, vol. II,  Lit. H - Z, Editura Academiei Române, București, 2012
 


IMAGES



    BIOGRAPHY

    (Lechinta, Mures, 1908 - Bucharest, 1997)

    Academic studies:
    1928 - 1931 - Belle-Arte School, with the professors Romul Ladea, Alexandru Popp, Catul Bogdan, Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

    Professional activity:
    1936 - The Sociologic School, coordinator Dimitrie Gusti (research of the area Tara Oasului; he sculpted an iconostasis for the Church from Moiseni);
    1938 - 1939 - Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts, Timisoara, Romania;
    1943 - 1946 - Inspector of the Arts in Transylvania;
    1963 - 1966 - Editor in chief of the "Arta" Magazine.
     


    PROJECTS

    Personal exhibitions:
    1932 - "Fodor" Furniture Shop, Targu-Mures, Romania (debut exhibition);
             - The Prefecture Hall, Cluj-Napoca, Romania (debut exhibition);
    1933 - The Hall from University Street no. 3, Cluj-Napoca, Romania (exhibition accompanied by catalogue);
             - Sculpture and painting exhibition realized in the personal workshop, Cluj-Napoca, Romania;
             - Rhythms, Hasefer Bookshop (with Miron Radu Paraschivescu and Ion Vitner), Bucharest, Romania (exhibition accompanied by typewritten catalogue);
    1934 - Exhibition of sculpture and coloured drawing in the workshop from Regina Maria Street, Cluj-Napoca, Romania;
    1935 - Sculpture and drawing exhibition, Unirea Square, no. 9, Cluj-Napoca, Romania (exhibition accompanied by catalogue);
    1936 - "Mozart" Hall (with Eugen Gasca), Bucharest, Romania (exhibition accompanied by catalogue);
    1938 - "Contemporaine" Gallery, Painting Exhibition, Rue de Seine, Paris, France (exhibition accompanied by catalogue);
    1942 - Sculpture, Painting and Drawing Exhibition, "Dalles" Hall, Bucharest, Romania;
    1944 - Sculpture and Painting Exhibition, "Dalles" Hall, Bucharest, Romania (exhibition accompanied by catalogue);
    1957 - Sculpture and Painting Exhibition, "Magheru" Hall, Bucharest, Romania;
    1967 - Retrospective Exhibition of Sculpture and Painting, "Dalles" Hall, Bucharest, Romania (exhibition accompanied by catalogue);
    1977 - Warsaw, Poland (exhibition accompanied by catalogue);
             - Painting Exhibition, itinerary exhibition in Targu-Mures, Brasov, Romania;
    1978 - Painting Exhibition, "Dalles" Hall, Bucharest, Romania (exhibition accompanied by catalogue);
    1979 - Painting Exhibition, Athens, Greece (exhibition accompanied by catalogue);
    1983 - Retrospective exhibition, Targu-Mures, Romania (exhibition accompanied by catalogue);
    1984 - Retrospective exhibition, "Dalles" Hall, Bucharest, Romania (exhibition accompanied by catalogue).

    Group exhibitions:
    1934 - The Fine Arts Academy Exhibition (13 sculptures and 17 coloured drawings), Timisoara, Romania (exhibition accompanied by catalogue);
    1938 - Salon des Tuileries, 15th edition, Paris, France (exhibition accompanied by catalogue);
             - International Painting and Sculpture Exhibition, "Contemporaine" Gallery, Paris, France (exhibition accompanied by catalogue, includes José Germain’s preface);
    1939 - Anniversary Exhibition of Fine Arts from Ardeal . 1919 - 1939, organizer: ASTRA, Cluj-Napoca, Romania (exhibition accompanied by catalogue);
    1936, 1942 - 1947 - The Official Painting and Sculpture Salon, Bucharest, Romania;
    1942 - 1943 - The Official Autumn Painting and Sculpture Salon, Bucharest, Romania;
    1942 - Artistic Youth, Bucharest, Romania;
    1943 - Still Life, "House of Art" Hall, Bucharest, Romania;
             - Romanian Art Exhibition, itinerary exhibition in Dresda (Germany), Kunsthalle, Berna (Switzerland), Zürich (Switzerland), Stockholm (Sweden) (exhibition accompanied by catalogue);
    1945 - "House of Art" Hall (with Francisc Sirato, Theodor Pallady, Ion Tuculescu, Alexandru Ciucurencu, M. H. Maxy), Bucharest, Romania;
    1946 - Fine Art Exhibition, The Classical Studies Institute, Cluj-Napoca, Romania (exhibition accompanied by catalogue);
    1947 - Romanian Art Exhibition, itinerary exhibition in Belgrad (Serbia), Budapest (Hungary);
             - Salon of Ardeal, Painting and sculpture exhibition, Cluj-Napoca, Romania (exhibition accompanied by catalogue, preface by Virgil Vatasianu);
             - Puskin, "Dalles" Hall, Bucharest, Romania;
    1948 - Flacara Exhibition, Bucharest, Romania;
             - Simu Museum, Bucharest, Romania;
    since 1949 - He participated in various Annual State Exhibitions, Interregional and Republican Exhibitions;
    1957 - 10 Years of Plastic Creation. 1947 - 1957, Museum of Art of R.P.R., Bucharest, Romania (exhibition accompanied by catalogue, preface by Alexandru Ciucurencu);
    1958 - Fine Arts Exhibition form the Socialist Countries, Moscow, USSR;
    1959 - Romanian Exhibition of Modern Art, itinerary exhibition in Belgrad (Serbia), Warsaw (Poland);
    1967 - Romanian Art Exhibition, organized on the occasion of the "Constantin Brancusi" International Colloquium, Bucharest, Romania;
             - 9 Biennale, Middelheim, Antwerpen, Belgium (exhibition accompanied by catalogue);
    1968 - Romanian Art Exhibition, Prague, Czech Republic (exhibition accompanied by catalogue, preface by Vasile Dragut);
    1968 - 1969 - Art Pages Devoted to Transylvania, National Museum of Art, Bucharest, Romania;
    1972 - Romanian Sculpture Exhibition, Accademia di Romania, Rome, Italy;
             - 25 of Romanian Fine Arts, Museum of Art of R.S.R., Bucharest, Romania (exhibition accompanied by catalogue, preface by Dan Haulica);
    1973 - Instances: Landscape - Ambient - Monumental Art, "Noua" Gallery, Bucharest, Romania (exhibition accompanied by catalogue, preface by Ion Salisteanu);
    1976 - Venice Biennial, Italy;
             - Hommage à Brancusi de la sculpture roumaine contemporaine, Musée Galliera, Paris, France (exhibition accompanied by catalogue, preface by Ion Vlasiu);
    2002 - The Interwar Romanian Graphics and Sculpture, Museum of History and Art of Bucharest City, Bucharest, Romania;
    2003 - Modernist Graphics in Interwar Romania. 1930 - 1940, National Museum of Art from Romania, Bucharest, Romania (exhibition accompanied by catalogue realized by Mariana Vida);
    2007 - The Painting of Writing II, "Dialog" Gallery, Bucharest, Romania (exhibition accompanied by catalogue realized by Ruxandra Garofeanu);
    2012 - Sculptural Archetypes. Wooden Sculpture, National Museum of Art from Romania, Bucharest, Romania.

     Monumental works:
    1937 - George Boldea (the poet’s funerary monument), Mercheasa, Sighisoara, Romania;
    1939 - Mihai Eminescu and Octavian Goga (writers; busts), Sighisoara High School, Romania;
    1943 - The Spectre, Angel, Maternity, The Chick (Ruschita marble), Ruschita, Romania;
    1946 - Ion Creanga (writer; bust; artificial stone), Minerva Square, Galati, Romania;
    1958 - Mother with Twins (artificial stone), The Garden of the Icon, Bucharest, Romania;
    1962 - Love (statuary group; stone), Floreasca Park, Bucharest, Romania;
    1971 - Ion Creanga (writer; stone), Herastrau Park, Bucharest, Romania;
    1974 - Horia, Closca and Crisan (monument; stone and bronze), Cluj-Napoca, Romania;
    1975 - The Monument of the Union (stone and bronze), Campia Libertatii, Blaj, Romania;
    1976 - Aurel Vlaicu (monument; stone), Targu-Mures, Romania;
    1983 - Ion Creanga (writer; stone), Piatra Neamt, Romania;
    2002 - Petru Maior (historian, philologist and writer; bust; bronze), Reghin, Romania;
             - Mihai Eminescu (bust; bronze).
    He realized numerous portraits and monuments: Nicolae Balcescu, Avram Iancu, Simion Barnuțiu, Constantin Brancusi, George Bacovia, Mihail Sadoveanu, Ioan Lupas, Perpessicius, Clody Bertola, Edgar Papu.

    Works in public collections:
    National Museum of the Union, Alba Iulia, Romania;
    Museum of Art, Brasov, Romania;
    National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest, Romania;
    National Museum of Art from Romania, Bucharest, Romania;
    National Museum of Romanian Literature, Bucharest, Romania;
    Zambaccian Museum, Bucharest, Romania;
    Museum of Art, Cluj-Napoca, Romania;
    Museum of Art, Constanta, Romania;
    Museum of Art, Craiova, Romania;
    Museum of Visual Art, Galati, Romania;
    "Ion Creanga" House, Humulesti, Romania;
    Museum of Art, Iasi, Romania;
    Museum of Art, Oradea, Romania;
    The "Mihail Sadoveanu" Memorial House, Piatra Neamt, Romania;
    The National Brukenthal Museum, Sibiu, Romania;
    The County Museum from Suceava, Romania;
    Museum of Art, Targu-Mures, Romania;
    "Ion Vlasiu" Gallery (the artist’s donation: sculpture, painting, drawing); between 1980 - 2010, this functioned at the Teleki Library headquarters, Targu-Mures, Romania;
    Museum of Art, Timisoara, Romania.

    Writings of the artist:
    Am plecat din sat, Editura Miron Neagu, Sighişoara, 1939;
    Amintiri, colecția Cartea refugiatului ardelean, Fundația Culturală Regală "Regele Mihai I", Bucureşti, 
    1941 (with portraits drawn by Valentina Bardu);
    Poveste cu năluci, roman, Editura autorului, Bucureşti, 1941;
    Drum spre oameni, Sibiu, 1947;
    Drum spre oameni, Editura pentru Literatură, Bucureşti, 1961 (illustrated with 10 sculptures);
    O singură iubire, novel, Editura pentru Literatură, Bucureşti, 1965;
    Drum spre oameni, I - III, Bucureşti, 1970;
    Cartea de toate zilele unui an, Editura Dacia, Cluj-Napoca, 1984;
    Succes moral, roman, Editura Eminescu, Bucureşti, 1985;
    Monolog asimetric, jurnal, Editura Eminescu, Bucureşti, 1988;
    În spaţiu şi timp, pagini de jurnal, Editura Dacia, Cluj-Napoca, Editura Eminescu, Bucureşti (4 volumes published between 1970 - 1987);
    Obraze şi măşti, Bucureşti, 1984;
    Casa de sub stejari, Bucureşti, 1999;
    Nebunul din turn, roman, Editura Dacia, 2011.

    Titles and awards:
    1939 - Prize of the ASTRA Exhibition, Cluj-Napoca, Romania;
    1940 - Adamache Prize for literature, awarded by the Romanian Academy for the autobiographic novel Am plecat din sat, Editura Miron Neagu, Sighisoara, 1939;
    1942 - "Anastase Simu" Prize for Sculpture, awarded for the works exhibited at the Official Painting and Sculpture Salon;
    1980 - Award of the Fine Artists’ Union from Romania;
    1993 - Doctor Honoris Causa of the University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
     


    BIBLIOGRAPHY


    The pieces of information and the materials used to compile this file were fully provided by Ioana Vlasiu, important critic and art historian, the daughter of the artist Ion Vlasiu.

    Vlasiu, Ioana (coord.), Dicționarul sculptorilor din România. Secolele XIX - XX, vol. II, Lit. H - Z, Editura Academiei Române, București, 2011, pp. 354 - 357.

    Web sources:
    http://www.sensotv.ro/arte/Clipa-de-arta-3513/sculptura-in-lemn-la-mnar