Ovidiu Maitec



Ovidiu Maitec



Birth Date




Death Date



artist, sculptor

Biographical Text

Ovidiu Maitec was born in 1925 in Arad, and studied sculpture at the Institute of Fine Arts in Bucharest from 1945 to 1950, where he later became an assistant professor. He was a founding member of the Artists Union (UAP). Within Romania Maitec was best known for his monumental Socialist Realist works, but it was his smaller woodcarvings that attracted foreign collectors and galleries in the 1960s.

Working mostly in walnut, Maitec created hinged or rotating works, combining mechanistic forms and traditional Romanian woodcarving. He claimed that he had “never thought seriously about pre-existing sources”, and considered his works as “pure inventions, shapes and forms with no correspondences.”

From the 1960s, Maitec’s work was characterised by his use of negative space (“positive void”). From the 1970s, his work began to take the form of roughly symmetrical constructions, “a large mass, mobile, balanced on a minimum point of support” and able to swing: “The static quality, the firm and expressive equilibrium of the material in space (its self-possession) seems to me to be one of the main features – and, for the one who is working on it – one of the main difficulties of sculpture.”

Maitec identified two groups of work throughout the 1970s and 1980s:
“a) the serene works (‘of the daylight’)… They are imaginary architectonic forms in which the drive to invent and proportion virtual constructions is predominant. They have a mystery of their own because they come from somewhere unknown. In them I try, in fact, to respect and imitate the old and eternal constructive human spirit that became a virtue alongside other human virtues. The will or the instinct ‘to build’, ‘to make’. The distinctive feature of these works in that their upper part is always set, always enthroned on the bearing one (the point or points of support). As in a coronation.
b) the grave works (‘of the light’). They are, and express the load, the toil of destiny that comes from the burden of hidden and frozen grief; and the stronger the belief or the hope in salvation, the greater the burden. In these works the lateral gases, ‘the wings’, weigh, hang on the main body or on the pillar. As in a crucifixion.”

Maitec understood his forms as, simultaneously, “simple objects” and “bearers of symbols”. It is because he found universal qualities in everyday objects and nature that so much of his sculpture associates “with very ordinary things and bear[s] their names as titles: wall, gate, garret, pillar, birdcage, throne… Naturally they are the metamorphosis and transfiguration of these things and beings, their symbol and never a reproduction of their image or function.”

Maitec was awarded several prizes, including the Romanian Academy Prize (1967), the Grand Prize of the Fine Artists' Union (1974), the Cultural Merit Order (1975) and the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (1985). He was elected a member of the Romanian Academy in 1990. He died in Paris in 2007.

He was married to the artist Sultana Maitec.

Entry authored by Dr Alex Popescu, Dec 2016




“Ovidiu Maitec,” Tyler Collection of Romanian and Modern Art: University of Tasmania, accessed October 2, 2022, https://tylercollection.omeka.net/items/show/902.