From the Catalogue: Natalia Dumitresco

Natalia Dumitresco was born in Bucharest in 1915 and began her training at the Kunstakademie with Franz Sirató in 1934, which was completed in 1939. In the same year she married the painter Alexandre Istrati, and in 1947 they both received a bursary from the French State and moved to Paris. For some time she attended the Académie André Lothe. The couple quickly established a friendship with Constantin Brancusi, also originally Romanian, and shared a studio directly next to his. When Brancusi died in 1957, they were made his heirs and therefore dedicated themselves increasingly to the presentation of his life’s work. As sole heirs, they bequeathed Brancusi’s work to the French Nation and planned a reconstruction of Brancusi’s atelier in the Centre Pompidou, which was inaugurated in 1977. They also wrote, together with Pontus Hultén, a biography of the artist which appeared in 1986. In the meantime, Dumitresco and Istrati were granted French citizenship in 1965. 

From the 1950s, Dumitresco was in close contact with the Paris avant-garde, which was reflected in her work. Her works were shown at international exhibitions in cities throughout the world and in 1952 she received the Espace group prize, in 1955 the Kandinsky Prize, in 1959 the Carnegie Prize and in 1969 the 1st prize of the Salon Internationale de la Femme. Natalia died in Paris in July 1997 and was laid to rest with her husband in a grave at Montparnasse cemetery, which they shared with Brancusi. 

The present piece is a rare early work; such pieces seldom appear on the art market. The work, from 1950, is still very two-dimensional and open, with sweeping lines and large areas of colour. Her later works are often large city views, with linear structures and forms divided into small sections. Yet even this early oil painting shows a clear commitment to abstraction, and has a striking luminosity which is typical of Dumitresco. 

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