Vasile Gorduz



Vasile Gorduz



Birth Date





artist, sculptor

Biographical Text

The sculptor Vasile Gorduz was born in 1931 at Trifesti, Orhei, in Bessarabia. He grew up running between his backyard and the church courtyard, spending most of his time with his friend, the priest’s son. In 1944, he left this childhood idyll for bombed Bucharest.

In 1961 he graduated from the Institute of Fine Arts, having studied under Prof Ioan Lucian Murnu. Gorduz became a member of the Artists Union (UAP) in 1963, and in 1981 was a founding member of the group 9+1.

His first show was in 1957 in Bucharest, before he had graduated. He later exhibited in Prague (1968, 1972), Warsaw, Leningrad (1972), Rome (1973), Berlin (1974), Paris (1990), and Seville (1993).

He took Brancusi’s themes and sculptures and gave them different angles and forms, for instance turning Brancusi’s ‘Enchanted Birds’ into ‘Ordinary Birds’, and ‘The Wisdom of the Earth’ into ‘And the Woman Bit by the Apple’.

Gorduz worked in stone, metal and porcelain. He used to leave his sculptures in the sea, under gutters, or simply lying in the garden for months and even years to age them, to acquire “the patina of ancient time”. He wanted to remove traces of himself from his own art, allowing them to come into their own being.

His most notable works have also been the most controversial: the statue of the naked and awkward emperor Trajan in Seville with copies in Rome and outside the National Museum in Bucharest; the statue of the barefoot national poet Mircea Eminescu in Montreal; and the bust of the Christian dissident Petre Tutea in Bucharest. He also produced a porcelain head of the collector Geoffrey Tyler (‘Head of Geoffrey’), which is now in the Tyler Collection

Both Gorduz and his wife, the artist Silvia Radu, were Christian artists. They had no children, but felt that a ‘fruit’ of their marriage, projects nurtured like children, was the setting up of a monastery near Bucharest, on the site of the first village school in Wallachia in 1750, and a church on the Black Sea coast by Bulgaria, built in Greek Byzantine style in local stone.

Gorduz received many awards, including the Grand Award of the Artists Union (UAP, 1983) and the Ion Andreescu Award from the Romanian Academy (1983). He also received two awards in recognition of his career: one from the Artists Union in 1989, and the Prometheus Opera Omnia award in 2003 (with Silvia Radu). From 1990, Gorduz was professor of sculpture at the Bucharest National University of Arts.

He died in 2008 in Bucharest. In 2010 Silvia Radu curated a retrospective of his work at Mogosoaia Palace.

Entry authored by Dr Alex Popescu, Dec 2016




“Vasile Gorduz,” Tyler Collection of Romanian and Modern Art: University of Tasmania, accessed December 4, 2022,