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Autumn Art Sale - 100 Greatest Masters of Romanian Art #266/2017



Nicolae Tonitza

1886, Bârlad - 1940, Bucureşti
oil on cardboard, 50 × 40 cm, signed upper left "Tonitza", in brown
Estimate: € 60.000 - 90.000

Starea de conservare: pentru informații tehnice, contactați
the historic collection of the Bușulenga family. The work initially belonged to Cezar Bușulenga, one of the siblings of Apostol Bușulenga, husband of Zoe Dumitrescu-Bușulenga. After 1977, the painting entered the collection of Nicolae Bușulenga, the third Bușulenga brother.
Opera a participat la expoziția Nicolae Tonitza, Muzeul de Artă al R.P.R, 1964 și este reprodusă în catalogul expoziției la cat.144, pag. 96.
Opera a participat la expoziția Nicolae Tonitza, Muzeul de Artă al R.S.R, 1979.
Sold post-auction (see art. 13 in Conditions of Sale) € 60.000

"Children (…) appear with their charming lack of experience, with their harmonious mess, with their winged lack of discipline, with their fright of everything that is imposed on them by tradition and authority and with their passion for everything light, for everything free movement, grace and play, for everything joy of life, for everything unconditional brotherhood, with their planetary peers under the equally blessing kiss of a sun that many of them may soon not be able to see anymore...

In my countless and carefully long forays into the wonderful world of children, I met hungry children in rags, children whose bodies suffered, but whose fresh, clear soul reflected, like a pure and transparent mountain spring, the high beauty of the sky. I met children in expensive rags, children fed with wealth and refinement, children encouraged by permanent attention and caresses, children who were perfectly healthy, but in whose souls, prematurely grievous, grew stifled pains and frightening agonies." (1931) (Tonitza, Scrieri despre artă)

Defined and identified with the phrase "the children's painter" - like all great creators that stand out with a certain element that gives them uniqueness, singularity - Nicolae Tonitza occupies an important place in the pantheon of universal values. Part of the realist type of art, deeply prone to introspection, a continuator of the lyrical, suave vision of his predecessors - Grigorescu but particularly Luchian - Tonitza managed to enrich our art with works in which he mirrored the reality of his time, with immeasurable force.

In the creation of Tonitza, the theme of the child and of childhood in general occupied a prominent place, almost becoming a symbol. The theme troubles him, concerns him, moves him, and he seeks like no other those specific notes of childhood, with the little ones' purity, naiveté and disorientation before the problems of life. The sense of paternal emotion will be the origin of numerous works of art that had the power to reveal the painter's artistic personality, occasioning him the experience of almost musical relations at a chromatic level. With his specific sincerity and modesty, Tonitza stated that all he did was paint his own children "from the cradle, from their first explorations of the ground, from the sparks of their eyes, I believe - he said - that all I showed on canvas was the emotion of a father..."

Catrina (b. 1914), Petru (b. 1915), Irina (b. 1917) and Silică (the infant who died while stayed in Vălenii de Munte), as well as Nineta Gusti (the artist's niece) configured to a great extent the creation of Nicolae Tonitza, dedicated to the age of innocence. All five children appear on the artist's canvases, in various stances and significances. With his spirit of a fine observer, Tonitza the father watches them playing, sleeping, crying, listens to their cries and analyses their movements and their gestures, watches their expressions every single moment. Sometimes the children pose to the artist without knowing it, sometimes they have to wait for hours on end, listening meekly to the father's indications. For a major pictorial effect, the artist puts headscarves or hats on their heads, ties brightly coloured scarves around their necks, or places them in front of vividly coloured carpet, dressed plainly, in white shirts and barefoot.


BREZIANU, Barbu,"Nicolae Tonitza", Ed. Arta Grafică, București, 1967
BREZIANU, Barbu, "Nicoale Tonitza", Ed. Meridiane, București, 1986
CIUCĂ, Valentin, "Pe urmele lui Nicolae Tonitza", Ed. Sport-Turism, București, 1984
COMARNESCU, Petru,"N.N.Tonitza", Ed. Tineretului, București, 1962

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