Geometrie Casuali I, 1973-1975, oil on canvas, 70×70 cm
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Vincentiu Grigorescu (Bucharest, November 16th, 1923 – Castelnuovo Magra, January 1st, 2012) was an Italian painter of Romanian-Greek origin.
He began his artistic activity early in 1938 with the creation of several still life pastel paintings. In 1944, he enrolled at the Faculty of Architecture, University of Bucharest. In that same year, he voluntarily enlisted as a paratrooper in the Romanian armed forces fighting Nazism. He was later wounded in action and decorated.
In his early studies his interest focused mainly on the works of Van Gogh, Cezanne and the modern art of Duchamp. In his own paintings he approached a large array of topics from still life to abstract works which in the beginning did not attain the same degree of recognition that art critics reserved for his caricatures and graphic design.
In 1954, he won the prize for the Manifest at the World Youth Festival in Moscow; in 1957, he was honored at the Milan Triennial. Starting from large still lives and graphic design, Vincentiu Grigorescu’s work progressed towards concrete abstraction involving surface, support and color.
From 1964 to 1965, he began making the first series of Blacks. In 1967, he exhibited in Romania the “Black Squares”-vibrations. In the course of 1967 and 1968, he devoted himself to the series of Manuscripts. In 1969, he conceived his first monochromatic cuts.
Vincentiu Grigorescu came to express himself more and more through blacks and whites, thus approaching the topics of the Russian, Dutch and French avant-garde. At the same time, in the logic of reduction, he limited his creations to the maximum detail in line with his philosophy according to which “The scarcity of means leads to style”.
Because of his abstract works, Grigorescu came under heavy criticism as the ruling Romanian communist authorities openly accused him of “formalism”. In opposition to that regime’s ideological fixation on the doctrine of “socialist realism” (meaning: realistic form and socialist content), Grigorescu’s production reached a turning point: his abstraction became more and more part of a daring trend, rapidly enjoying international recognition.
In the period of the 60’s and early 70’s while he was still living in Romania, Vincentiu Grigorescu participated in some solo exhibitions, for example in Bucharest, Dusseldorf, Uppsala, Copenhagen, Bologna and also in several group exhibition in Sofia, Havana, Warschau, Geneva, Rome, etc.
Elected Secretary of the Romanian Artists’ Union for Graphics, he resigned in protest in 1971 after years of political disputes with the Ceausescu regime. In 1972 he went into exile in Italy, was given political asylum and afterwards the citizenship.
He settled in Milan; there he created the Butterflies-series, which enjoyed considerable success.
In 1975 Vincentiu had an important solo show at Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Turin, curated by Angelo Dragone. He also exhibited in Brussels (1976), at the Milanese galleries “Studio A” (with the series of Whites) and “Vismara” (1976 and 1980).
In the course of the ’80s and the 90’s, he completed a series of Colored Cuts and Blacks (1982); he exhibited a collection of still lives at the San Marco Gallery in Seregno.
In 1999, he left Milan and settled in Castelnuovo Magra (Liguria) where he devoted himself to still lives of highlighted chromaticism, without neglecting his research in abstract art.
Vincentiu Grigorescu become a relevant name in geometrical abstractionism with a strong interest in spatialism, constructivism and also arte povera; he was integrated in exhibitions of the Italian artists’ group that was active in the second half of the 20th century, including Enrico Castellani, Piero Manzoni, Agostino Bonalumi, Alberto Burri and Lucio Fontana.
He never returned to his country of birth. In 2012 Vincentiu Grigorescu passed away.
Works in noteworthy museums and collections
Grigorescu’s works are part of the following collections: The National Museum of Art of Romania, Galleria d’Arte Moderna Turin, E. G. Robinson, W. Rogers, Frank Shakespeare, F. von Thyssen, M. Pierborg, S. Brody, F.Wojda and L. Pomini.
ARTICLES AND PUBLICATIONS
Wiederentdeckung der rumanischen abstrakten Kunst – Allgemeine Deutsche Zeitung
Vincenţiu Grigorescu la 418gallery – Revista Luceafarul
418 Contemporary Art Gallery – Art Guide East
Abstractionismul romanesc – Cotidianul
Romul Nutiu, Vicentiu Grigorescu si Diet Sayler sau mica pledoarie … – artindex.ro
Abstract si viu, cum e posibil – Contributors
Despre abstractionismul romanesc – Contributors
Muzica formelor si culorilor – Cotidianul
EXHIBITIONS AFTER 1972:
25.11.2015 – 20.02.2016
Vincentiu Grigorescu – Le Tele
solo show curated by Joana Grevers and Marzia Ratti, 418 Gallery, Bucharest
UniCredit Bank, Project Space 1F, Bucharest
Curated by Adriana Tranca
with 418 Gallery
Art International Istanbul,
with 418 Gallery
Structure & Energy II – The Power of Abstraction,
with Diet Sayler and Romul Nutiu, curated by Marzia Ratti and Joana Grevers, 418 Gallery Bucharest, Romania
Vincentiu Grigorescu, solo show
Galleria Xenia of Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Budapest, Hungary
Structure & Energy. The Need for Abstraction, together with Diet Sayler and Romul Nutiu
418 Contemporary Art Gallery Bucharest, curated by Liviana Dan and Joana Grevers, critical texts by Ruxandra Demetrescu and Liviana Dan
Vincentiu Grigorescu. La Scoperta del Colore. Ultime Opere
Spazio Espositivo Liceo Artistico Statale della Spezia, Palazzo Comunale di Castelnuovo Magra, Italy, curated by Francesca Mariani, critical texts by Marzia Ratti and Francesca Mariani
5.04. – 30.09.2012
Superfici Sensibili. Dialogo con il supporto
CAMEC della Spezia, Italy, curated by Marzia Ratti, group exhibition with Alberto Burri, Enrico Castellani, Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni etc.
Generazione anni Venti, solo show
Vincentiu Grigorescu, Castello di San Giorgio della Spezia, Italy, curated by Marzia Ratti
Works 1967-2001, solo show
Centro S. Allende della Spezia and Castello Doria di Porto Venere, Italy, curated by Marzia Ratti
Solo show at Galleria Arte Contemporanea in Lugano
Galleria San Marco in Seregno (Milan)
Vismara Arte Contemporanea, Milan, Italy, curated by Alberto Veca
Vismara Arte Contemporanea, Milan, Italy, curated by Gillo Dorfles
Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Turin, Italy, curated by Angelo Dragone
Studio A, Milan, Italy
EXHIBITIONS UNTIL 1972:
Bucharest, Dusseldorf, Ala, Uppsala, New York, Lingkoping, Milan, Copenhagen, Biella, Bologna, Bruxelles
Rome, Milan, Turin, London, Geneva, Mexico, Moscow, Pekin, Warsaw, Prague, Paris, New Delhi, Montreal, Quebec, Bagdad, Sofia, Havana.
1954 – Moscow, World Youth Festival
1957 – Triennale di Milano
1958 – Prize of the Union of Fine Artists, Romania
1961 – Montreal, Gold Medal for Film Posters