Painting and Tango: Argentinian artist Raquel Partnoy

Video by Argentinian artist Anibal Nazzaro

In her early 20s, Raquel Partnoy studied painting in Buenos Aires with Argentinean painter and muralist Demetrio Urruchúa. Inspired by his humanism, Partnoy developed a series of paintings that reflects both her heritage and life’s experiences.

In 1976, a military coup seized power in Argentina, bringing in its wake seven years of cruel dictatorship. During this era of horror, 30,000 Argentinean citizen “disappeared” most of them eventually were massacred by the government. Partnoy created Life Experiences. “Blindfolded” is part of this series of paintings.

After arriving in the United States, Partnoy visited the Holocaust Museum and recognized the similarities between the Argentinean devastations and the genocide of the Holocaust. Her exposure to testimonies of Holocaust and Argentina survivors compelled her to paint her series Surviving Genocide.

Raquel Partnoy has also created a gallery of portraits about those extraordinary women who silenced their own aspirations, spending their quiet, still lives giving moral and physical support to their male partners, famous artists. The name of this Series is: Women Still Lives.


In 1994, when Partnoy visited the Jewish Museum in New York for the first time, she became impressed by the images and the rich textures of the ancient religious objects. It was then that she thought that she would need a different material than oil painting to portrait the life of the Jewish people and the stories of the women of the Bible. She chose fabrics to create the collages, more specifically, discarded fabrics she found at some upholstery stores and at dressmakers shops, to tell those stories about dreams, exile, and hopes.



By portraying the landscape of terror of Argentina, Partnoy tells about the dramatic situation during the dictatorship in her country  between 1976 and 1983, when 30,000 people were killed by the military.


IOAN IACOB was born in 1954 in Romania. He studied at the Fine Arts Academy of Düsseldorf with Professor Gothard Graubner. In 1981, he was awarded the Fine Arts Prize of the Jürgen Ponto Foundation and in 1982 the Max Ernst Scholarship of the town Brühl (Germany). In 2005, he partipated at Artist’s Village Ein Hod on invitation by the Town of Düsseldorf. He lives and works in Germany.

He has had solo exhibitions in prestigious galleries in Germany, Belgium, France, United States, Israel and Romania. Among his most recent exhibitions are: at The Contemporary Art Gallery of the Brukenthal Museum, Sibiu;The Mogosoaia Palace,Foisor, Bucharest; The National Art Museum, Cluj-Napoca (in 2007) and in 2005 at Artist’s Village Ein Hod, Israel; The Contemporary Art Gallery, Haifa, Israel, etc.


“We live in the times of the image / state of mind which causes not only the type of emotion that is to be evoked but also the type of attitude that is to be taken. Without being phsycally involved, Ioan Iacob forces this apparently causal connexion between image and object. The painting gains new visual and social codes. Everything is literal, concrete, true. There is a feeling of protective tenderness. A world enjoying its peace. Ioan Iacob will not recognise the fatal risks of the utopia. However, he adjusts the reality according to his own theories.

Ioan Iacob’s painting is a perfect example of adjusting the data to an idea. The premature innocence is a memory or, better said, a digression.

By Ioan Iacob

By Ioan Iacob

Ioan Iacob has his own, quite far-seeing.conceptual system. He enjoys every day life. And thanks to it, he regains all that is hidden. The legitimacy of the elements of the interior space. The painting menu is almost classical: portrait, static nature, landscape.

Almost in a classical way, the painting is reduced to the constituent elements: ground, texture, colour, brush stroke… Ioan Iacob is always enaged in a fresh relation with the canvas. When he starts a painting, he automatically organizes the visual data of our reality. Strangely, he organizes them in individual graphical worlds.

Ioan Iacob helps us clarify the relation we have with the visual objects. He imposes a place, a situation, a wanted life- style…our very own existence.

By Ioan Iacob

By Ioan Iacob

By unlocking or turning abstract the reality, the painting gains a hidden language that is unknown to us: luminosity and the beginning of the story. One is not always sure whether the luminosity is the fiction or if the beginning of the story is the truth. Actually, the luminosity and the beginning of the story contain a bit of them both.”

Liviana Dan


“In the fall of 2007, at Sibiu, the town elected European Capital of Culture, Ioan Iacob has been invited to hold a solo exhibition, the third of the artist’s solo shows in Romania. The Brukenthal Museum will be the host of his paintings.

As each one man’s show, bearing the signature of Ioan Iacob, this will also be structured upon two strong coordinates: an exhibition of recent works, a particular chapter of the painter’s existence, and at the same time, the attempt of communicating openly with a public prepared to receive contemporary art in all its dimensions and with all its variety.
The Sibiu exhibition has been conceived as a unique visual show, in the sense of its situation in space and time, being centered on the impressive trypthic with the painter’s self- portraits, as the center of irradiating a singular graphic confession. Along with all the other self-portraits exposed, this trypthic also avows without hesitation the terrible need of the painter to live in communion with the art he creates.

By Ioan Iacob

By Ioan Iacob

The self-portrait of the painter seems to be dissolving itself in the midst of the ample composition, determining its existence and letting itself be devoured by the reality created upon the canvas. This is actually an incandescent love relationship, confessed also by color. The powerful, long-studied shades of red sustain at a chromatic level the passion experienced by the painter, in love with his canvas, palette and colors.

The escape towards the color red, expression of the world of physics, may be used as a metaphor for Ioan Iacob’s paintings, as long as the artist effectively investigates the ex- pressive possibilities of the color red and its complex tones. Generally speaking, the self-portrait, as a definition of the self and the self-portrait with expressionist suggestions, the hu- man face, looked upon with a lucid, yet understanding eye, will represent the theme of the Sibiu exhibition. The antagonism angel / demon, that has troubled the artist during his entire life, finds its graphic expression in this new series of paintings, but mostly in those self- portraits, in which one can almost see the discreet yet convincing presence of angel wings.”

Luisa Barcan

(Excerpt of “The Solitude of the Objects”, from the Catalogue of the Exhibition: Red Darkness, Brukenthal Museum, Sibiu,

E. STOENESCU AND PANAIT ISTRATI: a painter and a writer by Thomas Abraham

Endowed with exceptional qualities and moreover having received a remarkable education, Eustatiu Stoenescu created an oeuvre, which focused attention on him on three continents: Europe, North America an Asia. Thus, his participation in the great exhibitions of the time or his one-man shows in Paris, Venice, New York, London, Rome, Geneva, Bucharest etc. brought him the unanimous appreciation of experts, critics, the press and the art collectors. Numerous prizes, special honours as well as the purchase of his paintings for great museums and private collections from France, Italy, the USA, Great Britain, Belgium, and Holland etc. established him internationally. He was born in 1884, in Craiova, Romania and he died in 1957 in New York.

Panait Istrati - portrait by Eustatiu Stoenescu

Panait Istrati - portrait by Eustatiu Stoenescu

A painter about whom one can doubtlessly state that he created his own style, Eustatiu Stoenescu lent to his work homogeneousness, force and character, without ever trying to demonstrate his capacity to innovate, succeeded in achieving and asserting his originality.

As unanimously known, Stoenescu was a great portraitist. In Romania, as well as abroad, he was acknowledged as the artist who made the portraits of different officials, state leaders, members of the aristocracy, of wealthy intellectuals, of fashionable, distinguished ladies. He made them quickly, without endless sessions. He was a virtuoso, a magician of the brush. When referring to Stoenescu´s talent, Theodor Pallady once said rather maliciously that “unfortunately he has too much of it…”, while on another occasion, he said that “when you have got talent, you do what you want, when you have genius, you do want you can”. “Stoenescu´s portraits compel recognition, in terms of consummate execution, offhanded touch and spontaneous inspiration. Attentive to psychological details, the painter proved capable to transcribe reality faithfully, to select the essential and subordinate colouristic effects to expressiveness. Painted in a wide range of styles, with an extraordinary verve, his portraits illustrate the talent of a gifted artist, to capture, with no hesitation, and to define clearly the universe of a human face as well as to concentrate, into a single image, the history of a lifetime.” (Paul Rezeanu, Eustatiu Soenescu, Bucharest, 1998)

Such is the portrait of the great Romanian writer Panait Istrati, painted in a nervous, a robust drawing, a parsimonious colour range in which he managed more than ever to reveal the secrets of the latter’s soul, through a keen sense of observation.

Panait Istrati (1884—1935) was nicknamed The Maxim Gorky of the Bal- kans. He was the son of a Greek smuggler and a Romanian peasant woman and grew up among peasants, fishermen, sailors and vagabonds in Galatz, Romania, (near the Danube Delta). He became himself a harmless vagabond, worked and bummed his way all around the Mediterranean including the Middle East and wrote in the meantime enchanting short stories and novels in his beautiful self-taught French language about the people he knew: Romanians, Greeks, Arabs, Jews, etc. A fellow traveller for a while, Istrati visited the USSR in the 1920s together with his (later Nobel Prize winner) friend Nikos Kazantsakis. Istrati left the USSR completely disillusioned and wrote a book about it. His writing success began when he wrote to the French writer he admired most, Romain Rolland, with whom he had tried to get in touch for long. Rolland immediately replied to this letter. In 1923 Istrati’s story Kyra Kyralina was published (with a preface by Rolland). It became the first in his Adrien Zograffi literary cycle. Rolland was fascinated with Istrati’s adventurous life, urging him to write more and publishing part of his works in the magazine he and Henri Barbusse owned, Clarté. The next major work by Istrati was Codine. Romain Rolland considered him a wonderful story-teller and ever since, Istrati has been on the list of popular French classics. He belongs both to Romanian and French literary universes. He is one the most translated Romanian writers in all major languages.