Geoffrey Tyler's thoughts on Ion Gheorghiu

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Geoffrey Tyler's thoughts on Ion Gheorghiu


Tyler, Geoffrey




This painter and sculptor was of the same age as Pacea and had a studio near him. Gheorghiu’s passion in painting was with flowers and abstract designs based on them. For all the time I knew him he was painting what he called ‘Suspended Gardens’. On my first arrival in Bucharest in 1973, I visited the newly-opened opera house, which fronted onto a small park, with the Intercontinental Hotel on another side. In the extensive lobbies of the opera house there was a group exhibition, with many paintings by both Pacea and Gheorghiu. Insofar as I have a recollection about what I thought of the exhibition, I seem to remember thinking it a good one, although if I had been asked whether I would think of buying works by either artists, I would have answered that they looked too expensive for my wallet. Eventually, of course, I ended up with a number of works by each artist.

Gheorghiu was a perfectionist in terms of wanting his works to look their best. On two occasions I bought medium-sized works by him from a gallery. In both cases they were much more nicely framed than were most works sold in galleries. Unlike Pacea, he was also a sculptor, working in both wood and metal. Although his studio was therefore more crowded in some respects than if he had only painted, everything was meticulously in its appointed place. As with most of the studios I saw, Gheorghiu’s had excellent examples of glass icons on the walls.

Gheorghiu was different from most artists I knew in that he was secretary of the Artists’ Union. Like a number of more senior artists, he was a professor in the Fine Arts Faculty at the University of Bucharest, but the union job was unusual. Certainly nothing I ever saw of Gheorghiu suggested him to be a dedicated communist, although he probably was a member of the Party. There was no sign in his paintings that he was interested in gaining official approval for his works. I assumed that he took the post because it helped the artist community and did not hurt his personal standing with the Party. However, it was not a matter that I ever discussed with him and my judgements may well be quite wrong.

Personally, I liked Gheorghiu’s work. The colours were strong but very agreeable and within what might seem a limited concept of suspended gardens, he was able show a very great variety of form and colour. Some were only semi-abstract and one could see relatively easily the forms of the flowers that gave him his inspiration. Others were so abstract that it was difficult see any semblance of flowers. No matter how abstract, his sense of colour was strongly evident in all his works. I admired him as a sculptor almost as much as a painter, although sculpting came very much second in his output. Unfortunately, for me taking back sculpture in my luggage was much more difficult than in the case of paintings, especially if the works were of any size. Consequently, I only have one of his sculptures, depicting a very stylised flower, done in wood.


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