Ion Vlasiu, The National Museum of Art of Romania and the Mureș County Museum

a la une, Arts

“The Man Among the Trees”

Ion Vlasiu, a sculptor, painter, and writer, is a notable alumnus of the School of Fine Arts in Cluj, Transylvania. Despite his involvement in various art forms, Vlasiu’s deep connection to the countryside unified his work. Nature was a constant influence, and as early as 1933, writer Olga Caba dedicated a poem titled “The Man Among the Trees” to him.

 “Nature consists only of force and motion. These words are worthy of a programme” he said in 1938. “I can remember them because I have lived them profoundly and I have felt them for years on end.”

Vlasiu often quoted Leonardo da Vinci

The exhibition highlights Vlasiu‘s work through thematic clusters. His sculptures explore the dynamism of matter, blending serious and playful elements. Another section features portraits of prominent Romanian figures, revitalizing the romantic myth of the genius. His self-portraits serve as honest testimonials, parallel to the diary he kept throughout his life.

Vlasiu‘s paintings reflect the evolution of his sculptural ideas, using expressionism to communicate his observations on reality. Some works hint at symbolism and fantasy, influenced by his literary interests.

Centered around the 1960s and 1970s, the exhibition features “The Elements of War” (1968-1976), displayed at the 1976 Venice Biennale. Recently restored by Dorel David Morar, it was exhibited in Târgu Mureș in 2023 and is showcased again in these challenging times.


This event continues MNAR‘s series on influential 20th-century Romanian sculptors. Ion Vlasiu (1908-1997) distinguished himself with a vigorous and original artistic language rooted in the tradition of anonymous carvers. Educated at the School of Fine Arts in Cluj, he emerged in the 1930s with modernist wood and stone sculptures, viewing carving as a way to access and express the primordial matter.

The exhibition features an impressive array of works sourced from several collections, showcasing the spirit and depth of Ion Vlasiu‘s artistic legacy. Key pieces are drawn from the collections of the National Museum of Art of Romania, reflecting the institution’s dedication to preserving and promoting Romanian cultural heritage. The Mureș County Museum contributes significant works that highlight Vlasiu’s connections to his native region and its artistic traditions.

The Cluj-Napoca Art Museum and the Brukenthal National Museum both known for their extensive and diverse art collections, offers pieces that further contextualize Vlasiu’s work within the broader spectrum of European art history.

A more intimate insights into his creative process and personal life was provided by the Vlasiu family collection, featuring works that have remained with the artist’s descendants, and contributions from private collections add a unique and often unseen perspective.

by Alexandra I.Mas

photos curtesy of the family © Tudor Predescu