“Nude in Red Armchair”, Tonitza's painting depicting the artist's eldest daughter, sold for €90,000

Artmark's Spring Auction, the most important profile event on the Romanian art market in the first season of this year, had a winning percentage of 80% and raised almost 800,000 euros.

At the event that lasted 6 hours and 23 minutes, 234 pallets participated, of which 83 were awarded.

The record also belongs to Nicolae Tonitza, one of the greatest Romanian visual artists, “a genius of lushly colored sorrows”which was noted for its childish heads, but also for making some controversial nudes in the era.

Nude in a red armchair (1933-1934) Nicolae Tonitza. PHOTO artmark

“The highest total of awards of the Spring Auction (260,000 euros) belongs to the works bearing Tonitza's signature. We presented to the public six paintings by the master – <> (depicting the artist's eldest daughter, Catrina, made between 1933-1934 and from the collection of Gen. Vasile Parizeescu, former founder and president of the Society of Collectors of Artă din Romania), which was awarded for 90,000 euros, another <>, from 1927 (until recently, owned by a great interwar art collector, Dr. Iosif Dona, whose collection was returned by the National Art Museum in 2012), which fetched €75,000, <> (1924-1926, fetched €39,000 – to which it rose from a starting price of €12,000 of euros), <> (35,000 euros), <> (11,000 euros) and <> (10,000 euros)”, says Artmark, in a statement.

  Upper Saturday (1910) Nicolae Tonitza.  PHOTO Artmark

Upper Saturday (1910) Nicolae Tonitza. PHOTO Artmark

“He who allows himself to be conquered in front of a naked person by the voluptuousness of the flesh, fails”

The famous artist Nicolae Tonitza is among the painters who “dominated the first half of the 20th century and made nude paintings an independent genre of painting”, according to the late art critic Mircea Deac.

“In his writings, Tonitza brings up the issue of the reception of the nude in local art, referring to the reluctance and puritanism shown by some viewers. <>, the artist would remark, states the auction house.

Also from the “Spring Auction”, whose catalog can also be accessed online, Artmark signals other records of the last decade. Thus, the painting “La sipot” by Ion Theodorescu-Sion was awarded for 21,000 euros, the best-selling work by Sion in the last ten years.

“Also in the decade records category, we note two other important Romanian post-impressionists: Adam Bălțatu, with his “Primăvară”, spectacularly awarded for 10,000 euros, but also Dumitru Ghiață, whose modernist composition with peasants “De vorbă” awarded for 7,000 euros“, the statement also states.

Historic Art Auction Records

The Historic Art Auction on March 26 also recorded important records, with a winning rate of over 66% and a total of over 150 thousand euros in sales. The list of records is long. Here are just a few:

“First of all the best-selling Romanian coin (at an auction in Romania) – awarded for 32,000 euros (starting from 12,000 euros): the 100 lei gold coin – an extremely rare piece, which was minted in 1940 to mark ten years of the reign of King Charles II”Artmark shows.

Viorel Petac, President of the Romanian Numismatic Society, explained what its value is:

“It is completely exceptional, because it has great historical and heritage value. It was issued in 1940, by Carol II. It is an extremely rare piece, because that is how the sovereign wanted it to be – its circulation was only 300 copies. It was offered only to those in the immediate vicinity of the king, it was not found in the market. There are very few examples in the world”.

Then the best sold at auction, in Romania, a Transylvanian coin, namely a necessity plate, made of silver, minted by Ioan Zápolya in 1562, also a rare piece, which had a starting price of 800 euros and was awarded with 4,500 euros.

One of the last known images of Avram Iancu, sold for 5,000 euros

We are in the Year of Avram Iancu – so named by legal decree, because in 2024 it will be 200 years since the birth of the Transylvanian hero, and it should be mentioned that one of the last known images of the leader of the Romanian Revolution from 1848-1849, of rare suggestiveness, was awarded for 5,000 euros, although the piece had a starting price of 800 euros in the auction.

“The aforementioned image of Avram Iancu was made when he was around 40-41 years old and shows him poorly dressed, suffering, but adopting a dignified attitude, with his hand caught in his coat and his gaze directed directly, without hesitation , to the camera lens)“, the press release states.

Photo illustrating Avram Iancu, approx.  1865, in neo-Romanian frame.  PHOTO Artmark

Photo illustrating Avram Iancu, approx. 1865, in neo-Romanian frame. PHOTO Artmark

A record was also recorded in the old book segment of the same event, in the 18th century print chapter from Wallachia.

“With a starting price of 1,200 euros, “Teaching Gospel (Chiriacodromion)”, from the second reign of Constantin Mavrocordat in Wallachia, the first Romanian cazanie printed in Bucharest, in 1732 (with ex-libris) , was awarded for 5,500 euros”, states Artmark.

The controversial work Hydra, awarded for 10,000 euros

The Sculpture Auction that took place on Thursday evening (March 28) will not be forgotten and because it is the event that led to the awarding of the sculpture of the moment, “Hydra” to Costin Ioniță.

“The work, which is part of “Project 1990” from 2012, which proposed to replace the statue of Lenin in the former Spark Square, the current Free Press Square, and which sparked the recent controversies within the “Month of Romanian Sculptors” Exhibition from Iasi, where it was “beaten” by passers-by, it was awarded for 10,000 euros (the second price for Costin Ioniță, whose “Black Knight” was awarded, in 2021, for 30,000 euros – a record for the young sculpture at the time).Artmark shows.

“Hydra” – Costin Ionita. PHOTO Artmark

“The political class has changed only in appearance, but in essence it is the same”

Similar to “a dragon with seven heads”, the sculpture represents a criticism of the political class, as the artist himself testified. Controversial reactions to her have not died down, especially as she has resurfaced in the spotlight this election year.

“The idea of ​​the paper is that, after all, the political class has changed only in appearance, but in essence it is the same. It's a theme that represents post-December politics. Why Hydra? Because the Hydra is the mythological monster with poisoned blood and infinite regenerative possibilities. The seven heads of the Hydra are in the shape of roses emerging from the decapitated body of Lenin's statue.” explained the sculptor Costin Ioniţă.

The sculptor from Brașov Daniel Rădulescu, whose metaphorical sculpture “Selfscape” it was also sold last night for 10,000 euros.

“We also note the author's record set by the contemporary Bacău sculptor Lucian Smău with the marble <>, awarded for 6,900 euros”, Artmark shows.