The National Museum of Art of Romania

The Hidden History of a Symbolic Portrait: Tristan Tzara

Curator: Monica Enache
Romanian Modern Art Gallery
19 August – 30 September
Visiting hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 10.00 -18.00
Last admission: 17.00
Free entrance with National Gallery ticket.

The exhibition investigates the mysterious “disappearance” of Tzara’s portrait, painted by M.H. Maxy, a famous Romanian avant-garde artist, in 1924. The poet’s portrait had been published that same year in the magazine Contimporanul [The Contemporary], a vehicle for the dissemination of contemporary art and ideas in Romania.

Intrigued by certain details, curator Monica Enache looked for clues to test her supposition that the painting in the museum’s collection was the 1924 original, overpainted at a later date. A high-quality X-ray of the painting made by INOE 2000, the National Institute for Research and development in Optoelectronics, confirmed the thesis. Though deemed lost by art historians for decades the famous painting proved to have been hidden in plain view all the time.

The exhibition unveils the investigation process which led to this conclusion through a number of X-rays, high-resolution photographs made under fluorescent and raking light. Alongside still images, footage of M.H.Maxy’s1965 retrospective exhibition held at the Dalles Hall in Bucharest is also presented. This gives visitors the possibility to better understand the context in which the portrait was shown to the wider public for the first time after its overpainting by the artist.

The exhibition is accompanied by the first issue of the museum’s new bilingual publication series, Notebooks of the Gallery of Romanian Modern Art, dedicated to Maxy’s Portrait of Tristan Tzara.

Curator: Monica Enache
Romanian Modern Art Gallery
19 August – 30 September
Visiting hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 10.00 -18.00
Last admission: 17.00
Free entrance with National Gallery ticket.