Geoffrey Tyler's thoughts on Ion Pacea


Geoffrey Tyler's thoughts on Ion Pacea


Tyler, Geoffrey




Pacea was one of the first artists to whose studio Corneliu took me. He was recognised as one of the top painters in the country and had been for a number of years. Tall and well-built, he was a handsome man and, as I gradually found out, a man of very cultivated and artistic tastes. His studio contained many fine examples of Romanian icons painted on the back of glass housed in peasant, decorated frames. Glass icons were much loved by almost all the artists whom I met and their studios and houses had them on the walls.

Pacea was somewhat older than I and like most of the pre-war generation he did not speak English. More unusually, he did not speak French either, so I had to rely on translation. His wife, Lucretia, was also an artist working in tapestry, spoke English well and in his house provided not only excellent food but also conversation and translation. Both Pacea and his wife were cultivated persons, with wide ranging interests extending beyond into literature and philosophical areas. Unlike many middleclass Romanians, they owned their own apartment, which was one floor of a most elegant villa with an extremely elegant external carved marble staircase linking its four floors. The Paceas lived on one floor themselves and another was used by one of their married daughters. Pacea’s floor was like a museum, with contemporary and old works on the walls that any museum would love to have. One of them was given to me – an icon on glass depicting the Virgin Mary and her helpers wrapping Christ’s body in preparation for his entombment, in beautiful condition with a lovely frame and a perfect rendition of sadness combined with hope. It has hung where I see it every day in my house and its beauty and feeling is a continual pleasure and inspiration.

To my mind, the great influence on Pacea’s own painting was Matisse and his use of colour. I bought two of Pacea’s canvases early in our friendship, and, like the best paintings, they continued to grow in my estimation. They are both interior still lives – saturated with colour and happiness. For quite a time when I was seeing Pacea he was working on a long series of seascapes based on the Romanian Black Sea coast, where he went in common with many artists for a working vacation. These were almost all gouache works and I had a number of them, to the extent that I used one as a gift to a friend, which from the point of view of the collection I probably now regret.

I was able to give a small service to Pacea and Ion Gheorghiu in terms of arranging a joint exhibition for these two artists and two of their close colleagues at the IMF Art Societies series of exhibitions featuring artists from countries belonging to the Fund. Earlier I had arranged one for Corneliu, which was most successful, partly because of organising done by my wife Maria. Pacea asked if a similar exhibition could be arranged for him and some close colleagues. In thanks, Pacea gave me one of his works shown in the exhibition and I bought another.


Tyler, Geoffrey, “Geoffrey Tyler's thoughts on Ion Pacea,” Tyler Collection of Romanian and Modern Art: University of Tasmania, accessed July 24, 2024,