Among the highlights of the Romanian collection are notable drawings, watercolours and prints by nineteenth-century masters such as Theodor Aman, Carol Popp de Szathmari and Nicolae Grigorescu. The latter’s sketchbooks provide a more intimate insight into the work of the great Romanian artist. The department also has the most important and consistent public collection of pastels and watercolours by Ştefan Luchian. Outstanding works by major painters-draughtsmen of the interwar period, such as Theodor Pallady and Jean Al. Steriadi, and drawings by the sculptor Dimitrie Paciurea, especially his sketchbooks, are noteworthy examples of the Romanian art collection.
The European holdings include alongside French works, which account for the larger part of the foreign art collection, drawings and prints by well-known Italian, Dutch and Flemish masters. Educated mostly in France, Romanian artists and collectors developed a particular taste for French art, which explains the comparatively wide circulation of French works in local private and public collections. Drawings by Delacroix, Bourdelle, Matisse, as well as a large group of French engravings from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are among the strengths of the department.
During the events in December 1989 one of the storage rooms burned down, and four hundred documentary drawings were destroyed in the fire. Over the years, generous gifts from collectors Ligia and Pompiliu Macovei, Dr. Aurel Olaru and graphic artist Vasile Kazar have compensated for this dramatic loss. Ever since December 2000, when the Museum was reopened to the public, the department has regularly shown its collection in rotating exhibitions mounted in specially designated rooms within the European Art Gallery and the Romanian Modern Art Gallery.