Georgeta Naparus was born in 1930 in Comarnic, Prahova County.
Between 1951 and 1957 she studied painting at the Institute of Fine Arts in Bucharest under prominent artists such as Corina Lecca, Titina Călugăru, Adina Paula Moscu and the painter Rudolf Schweitzer-Cumpăna. She graduated in 1957 with an artwork called Țesătoare de covoare (Carpet Weaver, now lost).
Her formative years coincided with the 1950s, the ‘obsessive decade’ (obsedantul deceniu), a period characterized by unprecedented abuses from the Soviet authorities as they imposed an exclusively atheist proletarian culture in Romania. After the Red Army’s withdrawal in 1958, Naparus benefited from the de-Stalinisation and relative freeing of Romanian art and culture from the ideological constraints of Socialist Realism. In the mid-1960s she became more familiar with the masters of Bauhaus modernism, Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky. Their fascination with utopian Communist views, which legitimised their artworks within the Iron Curtain, enabled artists like Naparus in post-Soviet Romania to take up this artistic flow of imagination and cartoonesque sense of simplification and abstraction.
Naparus’ playful sense of composition intensifies at the interface between the seriousness and gravity of her themes (which include maternity, historical events, harvests) and the humorous and comic aspects, at times veering towards the grotesque.
Her work is fully immersed in traditional folk art, which she developed in a creative way. This is conveyed not only by her themes and style but also by pictorial details reminiscent of ancient narratives and recollections of traditions, gradually opening new perspectives, as if told by impromptu storytellers of village mythology.
Naparus became increasingly interested in working on small surfaces; having seen too many pictures which told the viewer everything from the beginning, she wanted the viewer “to always discover something new … to oblige them to return and to give them the opportunity of discovering another ‘something’ every time.” In works like ‘Miniatures 1’ (1971) she organised the painting in a gallery-like manner, requiring a chronological and ordered examination of faces and silhouettes. Other works such as ‘Ploughs on Red Background’ (1981) and ‘Costume with Painted Frame’ (1976) suggest a different approach; her technique here invites the eye to come closer, towards the detail.
For Naparus, the painting as first exhibited was not always its final form: sometimes, months or years later, she would return to her artworks out of a creative impulse, even if just to alter or add a detail.
She was married to the painter Octav Grigorescu, and died in Bucharest in 1997.
Entry authored by Dr Alex Popescu, Dec 2016Georgeta Naparus Facebook