Romanian art has been enjoying great reviews lately, not just because of the many films which have won international awards in recent years and the many talented artists, but also thanks to the higher sums paid in art auctions for works by famous Romanian painters and sculptors. Romanians are very creative people and those who do not have a direct contribution to art will express their creativity in other ways. Sometimes this is in small ways such as coming up with out-of-the-box solutions for every day problems or with a different perspective to solve an issue at work. In recent years, many young Romanians, finding themselves out of jobs or with low prospects of finding jobs, became entrepreneurs and started hand crafting bracelets, earrings, clothes and shoes, among other items. The frequent artisan fairs in Bucharest will mirror the high level of creativity in Romania.
But going beyond the art of everyday life, and since you could never know a nation without knowing its culture, let’s have a look at three faces of art in Romania: painting, sculpture and cinema, and point out some of the main works on art in these areas that one should check out when trying to discover Romania.
Precipitously developed in only 5 years, the Romanian art market has increased ten times since its emergence in the late 2000s. From a small turnover, of about 2.5 million euros in 2008, it reached a turnover of 20–25 million euros from public and private sales. This happened in a delicate time, characterized by the lack of cash and by confusion regarding the future plans of the capitalists and financiers, the main buyers and supporters of the market’s development. Certainly, the starting point of the Romanian art market did not coincide with the Romanian economy’s deregulation, but came only 20 years after the change of the political regime.
The cultural need is a strong enough presence to carry an art market debut not necessarily because in 2009 someone suddenly had this brilliant idea of creating a national art market system but mainly as a natural consequence following the foundation of the first steps towards economic welfare, social structure and inward comfort.
Alexandru Bâldea is founder of Artmark Galleries and ArtSociety Cultural Centre in 2008, Managing Partner of Artmark Auction House, art collector since 1998, investor in national heritage art since 2003, author of the Romanian Art Market Index and associated Professor at Art History Department – Faculty of History, University of Bucharest, since 2010.