Simona Vilau: Art Collecting in Romania
Rewinding Romanian cultural and artistic specificities along the last 150 years makes us see that private Art collecting has been a developing concern and, also, an enterprise of Upper and Middle classes' members (except the Communist era, when the classical idea of social stratification theoretically disappeared).
The Romanian evolution in the framework of collecting Fine Art (both public, and private) is simultaneous with its cultural and artistic evolution, in general. The 19th century in the Romanian environment comprises some of the European patterns and highlights of the Modern era, such as the Revolutions from 1821 and 1848, the Unity of two of the Romanian provinces (Moldavia and Wallachia) from 1859, the War of Independence from 1877-78 etc. Onto this background, of massive social and cultural changes, the interest in producing and collecting Fine Arts had increased. One of the most important episodes from this period is the inauguration of the Art Academies in Bucharest and Iasi, and with that, the creation of two genuine, local, educational centers, in the Arts & Crafts field.
The synchronicity with Western European currents and ideas (with a very powerful French influence in Modern Romania (before 1918), and a very strong Austrian-Hungarian, and German influence in Transylvania) was high until the end of World War II.
Between 1944 and 1947, Romania became a Communist country, in which all the criteria of private property, possessions, belongings and fortunes were criminally abolished. So, in the following 45 years, there had been no art market, and no official art trades, only individual stories, and divergent points of view.
In 1989, after the falling of Ceausescu's regime, things had changed. Now, we are talking about post-Communist era, transition, the European Union's membership since 2007, the slow, but steady development of the local art market, the emerging Romanian artists on the international art market, and many more.