Independent-minded, Corneliu Baba (1906-1997) developed a personal Realism that was very different from the stereotypes of Socialist Realism. His themes, some of which are close to the official party lines, show profound originality. He was influenced by Expressionism, which became the main characteristic of his painting. His work also reveals other sources of inspiration. The mystery that suffuses his work is similar to that of Byzantine icons. The intense light and shadow of the Flemish masters adds contrast to his dark, warm colours. Baba's life mirrors this unsettled century, but his paintings remain timeless. His reputation which is well established from the Danube to the Yang-Tse-Kiang, has yet to be fully appreciated in the Western world.
Pavel Susara is a researcher at the Institute of Art History in Romania. A specialist in contemporary art, he is also a compiler of verse anthologies and occupies a permanent position as art critic on the prestigious weekly periodical The Literary Romanian.