Octav Grigorescu was a Romanian graphic artist, painter, illustrator, poet. He was born in 1933 in Bucharest, and despite his short life, was remarkably productive as a draughtsman, engraver and painter.
Grigorescu studied painting, sculpture and engraving at the Institute of Fine Arts in Bucharest between 1951 and 1958, and then worked there, becoming a professor, until his death. He first exhibited in 1959 as part of a series of collective exhibitions, and in 1961 he became a member of the Artists Union (UAP). He took study trips to East Germany (1962, 1965, 1974), Italy (1968, 1969-70, 1977, 1978, 1980), the USSR (1972), Cuba, Spain (1979), France and England (1983).
At the beginning of his career Grigorescu worked in the Socialist Realist style, but he also produced many self-portraits of differing styles, and painted a number of illustrations from medieval texts and themes from Romanian history. From the mid-70s until his death, he painted several large-scale compositions, including the cycle of eight paintings dedicated to the Romanian prince Constantin Brancoveanu. He also rediscovered biblical themes, and created complex symbolist compositions fusing multiple literary sources.
Writing and drawing often went together: drawings were sometimes accompanied by written notes, which do not always seem to relate, but are ideas that have developed in parallel. Sometimes the writing is purely ornamental. He also left behind a considerable number of poems.
Among Grigorescu’s influences were Classical art, German Romanticism (he read in German), fin-de-siècle symbolist and decadent movements, and surrealism, which drew on similar ideas relating to historical crisis, when the dream becomes a refuge from a frustrating reality. He was also influenced by the work of Paul Klee.
He was married to the painter Georgeta Naparus, and was the older brother of the conceptual filmmaker Ion Grigorescu, whose work he greatly influenced.
Entry authored by Dr Alex Popescu, Dec 2016