Sorin Ilfoveanu



Sorin Ilfoveanu



Birth Date





artist, painter

Biographical Text

Sorin Ilfoveanu was born in 1946 in Campulung-Muscel; after the death of his mother he was raised by his grandmother in Pitesti.

He went to high school in Pitesti (1953-64) where he was taught and encouraged to study drawing by ‘Father Gutza’, a graduate of the Parisian School of Fine Arts. He studied at the School of Fine Arts in Pitesti with a former student of Alexandru Ciucurencu, and began painting his first oil landscapes and portraits, using his grandmother as a model.

Ilfoveanu was taught by Corneliu Baba in Bucharest at the Institute of Fine Arts (1964-70), alongside Stefan Caltia and Sorin Dumitrescu. He studied glass icons and folk carpets, as well as medieval, Romanian and Catalan art, and discovered the sgraffiti drawings on crosses in Oltenian cemeteries, which inspired an early set of drawings and etchings (“The Huntings”). In his final year, he worked in Baba’s studio, painting the hallway of the Pangratti studios, and Baba introduced him to the bohemian world of The House of Scientists and the Nestor Café.

He returned to Pitesti and set up the Pitesti Art Museum, but after receiving the Artists Union (UAP) Youth Grant was able to devote himself entirely to painting.

In 1972 he made a study trip with Stefan Caltia to Moscow, St Petersburg, Kiev and Riga. His friendship with Caltia grew while they painted the frescoes of the Al. Davila Theatre in Pitesti, and they later exhibited together in Norway. Ilfoveanu regularly participated in exhibitions and symposiums, occasionally organising them. In 1975 he founded and became president of the Pitesti branch of the Artists Union.

Trying to avoid Socialist Realist commissions and portraits of homage, Ilfoveanu drew the attention of art collectors. In 1981 he was awarded the Caravaggio Prize, and in 1982 the Prize for Painting from the Artists Union of Romania.

After the death of his grandmother in 1980, he bought a flat in Bucharest and set up a studio. In 1983 and 1984, he spent the summers in Radesti, near Campulung Muscel, working at the Cheia monastery and in Simion Sapunaru’s summer house; he soon bought his own house in Radesti, where he continued to work every summer and which he turned into a kind of open-air museum. In 2001 he built and painted a roadside chapel here.

Ilfoveanu travelled to America in 1987 on a study grant from the USIA. In 1990, he was invited to the Fine Arts Institute of Paris to teach painting. In 1992 he was elected head of the painting department at the Bucharest National University of Arts; he became Rector in 2004, but resigned in 2006 after a disagreement with the Minister of Education. He was awarded the Order for Merit in 2000.

Outside of Romania, he has had solo exhibitions in Paris (1987), Vienna (1994) and Tokyo (2001) and has participated in group exhibitions in Perugia, Portland, Copenhagen, Norway, Abu Dhabi, Budapest, Sweden, Seoul, Holland, France, Chile and Venice.

Entry authored by Dr Alex Popescu, Dec 2016




“Sorin Ilfoveanu,” Tyler Collection of Romanian and Modern Art: University of Tasmania, accessed December 1, 2022,