Ion Pacea

Ion Pacea 3.jpg


Ion Pacea



Birth Date




Death Date



artist, painter

Biographical Text

Pacea was born in 1924 in Thessaloniki, in Greek Macedonia. He is considered one of the greatest colourists of modern Romanian painting and was an honorary member of the Romanian Academy. Between 1945 and 1950 he studied at the Institute of Fine Arts and at the Free Academy ‘Guguianu’ (1946-51) under professors such as Camil Ressu, Jean Al. Steriade, and Alexandru Ciucurencu. At this time Pacea was a follower of Fauvism, with its vivid expressionism and non-naturalistic use of colour, that flourished in Paris at the end of the Belle Époque. Pacea continued his studies in Perugia, Italy in 1963. Following successful solo and collective exhibitions in Romania and abroad, he was awarded various national and international awards. Occasionally he would act in Romanian films, even in leading roles such as Saracul Ioanide (‘Poor Ioanide’).

Initially his paintings were figurative, industrial landscapes and portraits of workers, but he evolved towards abstract painting after a period where he worked in both styles together. His works are painted in oil or gouache and are striking for their chromatic variety and formal simplification, drawn with a confident line and strong and vibrant accents. He was also known for designing tapestries and murals in both fresco and mosaic.

To a Western eye not tuned to the ideological sensitivities of Soviet-occupied Romania, when he first exhibited at the “Official Salon” in Bucharest in 1947, Pacea’s compositions might look ordinary. But at a time when other painters were confined to painting official portraits of Communist leaders or the great achievements of the motherland, Pacea had the rare freedom to explore purely aesthetic avenues towards an abstract use of colour. He was exempted from paying tribute to ideological doctrine because he was being pushed forward as a showcase of artists’ pseudo-freedom in Romania. The bombastic eulogies which were written about him, even a couple of decades after Socialist Realism, speak for themselves:

“A full-grown artist, in full command of all his gifts, having reached the acme of a tenacious progression, maturely perfected by time: so, here is Ion Pacea himself, ablaze now with the inner light and warmth of a fresh and superbly generous freedom…” (Dan Haulica)

By contrast, more than a decade later in 1982, in a 155-page book entitled ‘Romanian Painting’ written in English, Vasile Florea condenses Ion Pacea’s entry to just five lines:

“Ion Pacea (born 1924) is mainly concerned with a solid construction of forms, with clear contours separating the various planes, and his penchant for simplification and stylisation often leads him into the area of Abstract Art.”

He died in 1999 in Bucharest. His son, Constantin, is also a painter, and his daughter Nina, an interior designer, is married to the painter Zamfir Dumitrescu.

Entry authored by Dr Alex Popescu, Dec 2016




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