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April 19, 2024
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Romanian Art Market in 2023

The Romanian art market included over 50 auctions organized by the most extensive art gallery in Bucharest, Artmark, with a total of 10.2 million euros in sales, of which 9.1 million euros in public sales, an average rate of adjudication of 70%, and 1.1 million euros in private sales.

Romanian Art Market: A trend of modernism and impressionism coming back into focus

Tonitza painting - Girl with pink ribbon

2023 was the year in which the classical and modern Romanian art market segment, stagnant for the past three years in the face of the momentum of the contemporary art segment, returned vigorously to the fore. There were significant sales of some exponents of Romanian modernism and impressionism, achieving (or being in the area of older) thematic records, with artists such as:

  • Nicolae Tonitza (we mention here the awarding of the work “Little girl with a pink bow”, 110,000 euros – March 2023, boosted by the record achieved by “Child’s head”, which, although small in size, was given for 42,500 euros – December 2023 )
  • Francisc Șirato (“Interior with poppies and daisies”, 22,000 euros – December 2023, together with “Lilac in interior” and “View from Balcic”, each 22,000 euros – March 2023)
  • Jean Alexandru Steriadi (“Boats in the port of Deauville”, 19,000 euros – March 2023)
  • Camil Ressu (“At the close of the harvest”, 17,000 euros – March 2023)
  • Gheorghe Petrașcu (“Interior with family portrait”, 35,000 euros – December 2023)
  • Octav Băncilă (“Peticarul”, 19,000 euros – October 2023)
  • Arthur Verona (“Country Celebration”, 17,000 euros – December 2023)
  • Paul Miracovici (“Nude”, with 13,500 euros – in June 2023)
  • Magdalena Rădulescu (“The Great Cavalcade”, 7,500 euros – June 2023) etc.

The Romanian art market in 2023: new absolute records for the great Romanian masters

2023 was also the year in which several Romanian artists sold the best, marking, through exceptional transactions, their peak of adjudication in a public auction.
Among them, Oscan Han achieved a shared record by awarding, in March 2023, for 16,500 euros, the nude “After the Bath”, and the symbolist sculptor Ion Faur-Schmidt achieves an artist’s record by the public sale of the Gothic scene “Faust and Mephisto” “, awarded in December 2023 for 5,000 euros.

Among the classical artists with absolute records in 2023: Ștefan Luchian obtained the record for the best-selling pastel – “Innocence” and was awarded in October 2023 for 26,000 euros, Carol Popp de Szathmari obtained a personal record for “Elegance (Portrait of Marthei Bibescu) ( 7,500 euros – October 2023), and Constantin Lecca manages 10,000 euros for the “Portrait of Eufrosina Lecca”, also in October 2023.

The Romanian art market: new absolute records for Romanian contemporaries

The contemporary art segment of the market performed well, achieving some absolute records for the artists forming the art scene – and the cultural market. Thus, Horia Bernea achieved two successive records this year, culminating in the award in October 2023, with 28,000 euros, for “Garden Evening,”; and Horia Damian obtained the best auction price for a painting, 22,000 euros in May 2023, for a “Galaxie” (among the first, from 1959).
Moreover, contemporary sculpture artists have achieved sales records – in May 2023, Ioan Pârvan achieved 30,000 euros for “The Great Harlequins”; in November 2023, Felix Aftene obtained 26,000 euros for “Cronos”.

Romanian Sacred Art in 2023

Romanian religious painting

For sacred art, 2023 is the year of the best-selling Romanian icon on wood – the imperial icon “Deisis”, from the XVI, which comes from the collection of the former Minister of Industry and Trade Ion Manolescu-Strunga, awarded, in December 2023, for 17,000 euros, but also of the best-selling Venetian-Cretan icon – “The Nativity”, from the beginning of the century. XVI, awarded in December 2023, for 11,000 euros.
At the same time, we should mention the absolute author records obtained in 2023 by several master Romanian glass icon painters: Nicolae Cațavei, Nicolae Oancea, Costea Verman, Ioan Pop from Făgăraș and Matei Popa from Vale (awards of several thousand euros – record! ).

The Romanian Art Book in 2023

Old Bible in Romanian

The book market segment was particularly well represented, with 2023 bringing some absolute records here as well, including the best-selling 3 Romanian books – twice the “Bible from Bucharest” by Șerban Cantacuzino, from 1688, sold for 50,000 euros, as well as for 36,250 euros (the variation due to the state of preservation), in April, then July 2023; as well as “Cazania de la Govora” by Matei Basarab, 1642, awarded for 16,000 euros, in November 2023.
Regarding manuscripts, the record of the year is held by a notebook of Emil Cioran, which contains the manuscript of a part of “Twilight of Thoughts”, approx. 1940, sold for 10,000 euros, and the best-selling map was the “Tabula Peutingeriana”, from 1598, sold in March 2023 for 6,000 euros.

Romanian luxury and decorative art in 2023

A limited segment of educated taste, the fruit of a broader culture of beauty, the decorative arts, from furniture and designer design to Art Nouveau glassware and Art Deco or Bauhaus goldsmithing, achieved some notable results in 2023, such as 3,300 euros for the office Boulle type in Napoleon III style, made with bronze inlays and decorations, c. 19th century, 4,250 euros for a pair of onyx and marble pedestals, decorated with multicoloured enamel, c. 19th century and 3,000 euros for an elegant gilded bronze mantelpiece, consisting of a pair of candlesticks and a Hippolyte Azur clock, with chinoiserie decoration, approx. 1850 etc.

Vintage jewelry in the art auctions of 2023

White diamond collier

In 2023, several vintage jewellery sold at record prices, such as a tennis bracelet in white gold decorated with diamonds, which fetched €20,000 (February 2023), a splendid necklace in white gold decorated with diamonds, awarded for €17,000 (May 2023), a Jaeger LeCoultre ladies’ white gold watch, decorated with 58 diamonds, totalling 4.5 ct. (which belonged to Zoia Ceaușescu, the daughter of the last communist leader of Romania), awarded for 14,000 euros (May 2023), but also a white gold pendant chain decorated with a large emerald, surrounded by diamonds, awarded for 17,000 euros (December 2023).

Watch auctions in Romania

Artmark auctions sold luxury and collectible watches, including an Audemars Piguet, Royal Oak, rose gold, from 2014, sold for 37,500 euros, in October 2023, a limited edition F.A. Jones of the classic IWC Portuguese, in gold, with a tourbillon movement, sold for 21,000 euros, in February 2023, but also an Annual Calendar edition, from 2002, of the famous Patek Philippe, made of gold, sold for 30,000 euros, in May 2023.

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