Nicolae Tonitza

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Self-portrait 1923

Nicolae Tonitza (born April 13, 1886 in Bârlad , † February 26, 1940 in Bucharest ) was a Romanian painter , illustrator , lithographer and caricaturist .

Born as the first of five children of Anastasia and Neculai Toniță, he came from Bârlad to Iași in 1902 and began his studies at the art academy there with Gheorghe Popovici and Emanoil Bardasare. In 1903 he visited Italy.

On November 4, 1908, he began his studies at the Royal Academy of Arts in Munich with Hugo von Habermann .

In the summer of 1909 he visited Italy again and in the autumn of France , where he stayed in Paris for two years . He painted landscapes, portraits and compositions that he exhibited in his studio in Montparnasse .

In 1911 he returned to Romania , first to Bârlad and later to Iași, where he taught drawing at the military college.

In 1912 he finished his studies at the Iași Art Academy. Tonitza married Ecaterina Climescu in 1913 and became the father of Peter and Catrina. For several years he worked as a journalist in Iași .

In 1916 he showed 94 paintings and drawings in Bucharest, together with Ștefan Dimitrescu .

Mobilized and sent to the front , he was taken to a prison camp in Bulgaria .

After the war he became a member of the socialist press. In 1921 he created several designs for ceramic products. In 1922 he traveled to Transylvania , where he met the painter and sculptor Aurel Popp; the artists soon became friends.

1924 Tonitza showed his works at the Biennale in Venice . In 1925 he left the Association of Romanian Artists and founded the “Group of Four” with Francisc Șirato , Oscar Han and Ștefan Dimitrescu , which held several exhibitions until 1934.

After the death of Stefan Dimitrescu in 1933, he held the chair at the Academy Iași and in 1937 became its rector .

Tonitza's painting was first influenced by Munich academism , after his stay in Paris the turn to Impressionism and Post-Impressionism , finally to Expressionism, was visible.


  • Raul Șorban: Nicolae Tonitza , Editura Meridiane, Bucharest, 1965
  • Nicolae Tonitza 1886-1940 Colectie de arta  : Alcor Edimpex 1996 ISBN 9739720056

Web links

Commons : Nicolae Tonitza  - collection of images, videos and audio files