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Geta Brătescu

*1926 in Ploiești, Romania, died 2018 in Bucharest, Romania.

As contemporary witness of the turbulent history of Romania, from the Kingdom of Romania, which existed from 1881 until 1947, to the Communist Dictarship under Nicolae Ceaușescu from 1967 until 1989 and the recent new democracy, Geta Brătescu belongs with her extensive work to the few pioneers of a contemporary artistic language in the Eastern European context.

Only a few years ago her work is duly acknowledged in international exhibitions.


'Canzone' is a series of five subtly watercolours and ink drawings from 1976, which carrying each a handwritten commentary. TICTARATARATATATIC is written on one of the paper works. The song of Mother Courage and Bertolt Brecht’s eponymous play may have been a guiding influence for these works. The restrained colour of the watercolours and the brittle, mysterious quality of the drawings suggest an artistic language, which does not at all fit in the official art, permitted under the Ceausescu dictatorship in Romania during the 1970s. Bertolt Brecht, however, fit in somewhat better within the guidelines of the regime. By working in his shadow, Geta Brǎtescu was able to hide from the omnipresent eyes of the Securitate and develop her own authentic artistic voice. She explored the theme of Mother Courage for over a decade. With its versatility of meaning, art can express truths for which language would require many words.

“During Communism, Brecht’s oeuvre, heavily realistic in its stylistic expressionism, was accepted because in his plays human destinies unfolded in a society unfavorable to the humane.
Mutter Courage, the heroine of the play of the same name, is a symbolic character of the contemporary world, at the level of those from the Greek mythology. I tried to portray this character, in theatrical compositions, sequentially using various techniques: drawing, lithography, and woodcut.” (Geta Brǎtescu in a note from 1965)

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