Garabet Avachian (1907-1967), a talented musician and violin teacher at the Conservatory “Ciprian Porumbescu” in Bucharest, acquired an impressive amount of Romanian paintings and folk art, Western European decorative art and furniture, as well as Oriental art. In 1968, his wife donated the collection to the state.
Painting was undoubtedly the collector’s favorite genre, and Theodor Pallady his great passion. Furthermore, the collection includes many canvases signed by other renowned Romanian artists, such as Nicolae Grigorescu, Ştefan Luchian, Gheorghe Petraşcu, Dimitrie Ghiaţă, Lucian Grigorescu and Alexandru Ciucurencu. The visitors can also admire an impressive collection of icons on glass, representative for the evolution of the genre, revealing the stylistic differences among the main Romanian creative schools.
Garabet Avachian was also interested in oriental art and his collection features Chinese bronze sculptures, Japanese cloisonné, ceramics, swords, paintings on silk, and several Turkish and Caucasian carpets, as well as Persian ceramics.
The comparative art collection of Alexandra and Barbu Slătineanu
Barbu Slătineanu (1895-1959) was an expert of Romanian folk ceramics, who studied systematically, taking part in archaeological excavations and writing studies on ceramics in specialised publications. His wife, Alexandra (1985-1979) was a passionate collector of folk textiles, icons on wood and glass, as well as paintings. The collection was opened to the public in 1948, and in 1951 it was donated to the state together with other objects that had remained in the possession of the family. The phrase “comparative art collection” emphasises the donors’ intention of revealing the specificity of Romanian artistic creation within a universal context.
The Romanian folk ceramics (17th-20th centuries) offer a comprehensive overview of the country’s most important pottery centres. Alongside ceramics, the originality of Romanian folk art is reflected by textiles, carpets, folk costumes, and furniture pieces.
Furthermore, the collection holds paintings and engravings by Romanian artists, such as Nicolae Grigorescu, Ştefan Luchian and Iosif Iser. Western art is illustrated by seventeenth- to nineteenth-century provincial furniture pieces. A coal drawing by Vincent van Gogh, which apparently was bought from the famous art dealer Ambroise Vollard, is undoubtedly the collection’s most valuable representation of Western art.
Several items in silver, as well as some oriental arms (18th-19th centuries) round out the collection.