6th October 2023, 18:00
9th October 2023 17th November 2023

About the exhibition

"There is something primitive, something fairytale-like [...]. There is a kind of feminine charm, and it reminds me of Simone Martini, one of the Italian primitives..." – wrote Tasso Marchini in a letter replying to his friend Fülöp Antal Andor, who had sent him reproductions of his paintings with a request for his opinion. Tasso posted the letter from the sanatorium at Arco di Trento, Italy in May 1936, just five months before his death. 

Among the works analysed is the painting called Girl with Mandolin, which is included in our exhibition: “I think it is in this painting that you succeed best of all in terms of composition. The difficulty of the task is matched by the skill with which you accomplish it. The head is very delicate and full of charm, almost like a drawing in pastels, not to mention the beautiful neck and the superbly painted collar. In my view it is only the hair that leaves a little to be desired, although stylistically it fits with the rest of the composition" were the empathetic words of Tasso Marchini, who was regarded by his contemporaries as the heart of the art scene in Cluj and who had a great influence on many people, not only his classmates but even his masters.

Letters by Tasso Marchini to Fülöp Antal Andor from Sighetul Marmației (1932), Timișoara (1934) and Arco di Trento (1936) | private collection
Letters by Tasso Marchini to Fülöp Antal Andor from Sighetul Marmației (1932), Timișoara (1934) and Arco di Trento (1936) | private collection

Tasso Marchini (1907-1936), of Italian-Serbian origin, was tossed by the vicissitudes of the First World War first to Oradea and then to Cluj Napoca, where he enrolled in the first year of the School of Fine Art. The painter, who died at the age of 29, is remembered for the legend he created in his lifetime, based on his friendly nature and his extraordinary talent. Within a few years, starting from his schooldays, he managed to create a body of work that expressed his own stylistic characteristics, a sure touch, and an incredible sense of colour, which expressed his boundless passion for life. 

The friendship between Tasso Marchini and Fülöp Antal Andor (1908-1979) goes back to their childhood, and after Tasso had enrolled in art school, he convinced his more timid friend to enroll as well a few months later. Fülöp Antal Andor's artistic development was gradual, in keeping with his nature. In 1929, he visited Rome, where his admiration for the early Renaissance masters was so great that he dared not pick up a paintbrush. Shortly after he had found his own voice and had successfully exhibited at the Official Salon in Bucharest (1932) and at the Collective Exhibition of Young Transylvanian Artists (1933), he lost the sight of one eye in 1934 as a complication of a bout of Spanish flu. It took a long time after this for him to find the courage to draw and paint again. 

The inspiration for our exhibition was the reappearance of Fülöp Antal Andor's Margit in a Green Dress (1939), which its owner has entered for sale at Quadro Auction #41. This motivated us to set out to trace the friendship between the two painters. The portraits they painted of each other, together with the reproductions of Marchini's works that Fülöp Antal Andor integrated into his own paintings, bear witness to their friendship and affection. However, our intention in the exhibition was not to showcase these painting dialogues but rather to construct a discourse of friendship from less frequently exhibited images, thus allowing the very different nature of the two artists to be clearly seen. To this end we have managed to obtain for our exhibition marvellous compositions and still lifes by both artists, including some that were last seen by the public in the early 1930s at the Salon in Bucharest. The greatest and most unexpected result of our search was the discovery of two identical-looking sketchbooks. One of them bears the name of Tasso Marchini and contains ink drawings by the painter, made around 1932. The other contains drawings that Fülöp Antal Andor made between 1934 and 1939. Both notebooks were preserved by Fülöp Antal Andor for almost half a century as a memento of his closest friendship. The drawings by Fülöp Antal Andor give us a first glimpse of the painter's artistic quests at the outset of his career and of the sources of his inspiration; we can feel in them a youthful but harmonious sensual vigour that gradually changes in later paintings into a spiritualised elegance.

Fülöp Antal Andor (1908-1979): Margit in a Green Dress, 1939
Fülöp Antal Andor (1908-1979): Margit in a Green Dress, 1939

In the face of financial hardship, the difficulties of finding their way in their careers and the very serious challenges posed by their health problems, human solidarity gave the two friends the strength to continue, and this endued their art with a depth that goes beyond aesthetics. With a sense of abandonment towards the outside world and of trust in friendship, Tasso could write to Andor: "I have realised that art belongs to artists". 

Both artists succeeded in creating a body of work that was sensitive to and in touch with contemporary European trends, but at the same time was outstanding in a unique way. 

On the 115th anniversary of the birth of the painter Fülöp Antal Andor, through this event we would also like to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Quadro Gallery and to thank our public for their loyalty to us and for following our activities over the years. 

 As part of the exhibition, through the cooperation of Romanian Television - Hungarian language broadcast - Magyaradás, we will be screening a portrait film of Fülöp Antal Andor, made in 1979 by Irma Huszár and Emil Lungu and entitled My Life has No Shadow.

We would like to express our thanks to Fülöp Antal Andor's heirs and to private collectors for making this exhibition possible by loaning works and documentation.

Székely Sebestyén György

Organising team: Andreea Cărăușu, Székely Sebestyén György, Xenia Tinca, Vécsei Hunor

Communication: Bartus Csilla

Interns: Petre Andrei-David, Precuț Yvette-Vivien

Partner: Romanian Television - Hungarian language broadcast

We use cookies on our website. Some cookies are necessary for the proper functioning of the website, while others are used to provide a more convenient browsing experience. You can find out more about cookies and our privacy policy here: Privacy Policy.
Necessary Analytical Marketing Accept