The School of Fine Arts in Cluj was founded in 1925 with young teachers – Anastase Demian, Catul Bogdan, Aurel Ciupe and Romul Ladea – who had recently returned from Paris. Their deep knowledge of modern art and their enthusiasm, against the backdrop of the great cultural effervescence following the union of Transylvania with Romania, nurtured a new generation of artists under the direct guidance of these teachers, just as Cluj was becoming one of the leading artistic centres in Romania. These artists, who adopted as their figurehead the charismatic Serbo-Italian painter Tasso Marchini, who died in 1936 at the age of just 29, introduced themselves in 1933 at a collective exhibition with the title “young Transylvanians”. The moment at which this generation stepped into the spotlight unfortunately coincided with the closing of the school of Cluj and the culmination of the Great Depression. A few years earlier, in 1929 some of these students of Fine Arts had tried to form an artistic group. They gathered at their “centre” – two rooms rented by some of them – on Piezisa Street, no. 17, forming what they dubbed the BOEMA society. What was BOEMA? It seems to have been a real association: it had a president (Ghiță Naghi), a “Secretary” or “Dean” (Ștefan Gomboşiu), a supplier (Eugen Gâscă), a chef (Ștefan Gomboşiu), and a patron (Romul Ladea). However there was no real institutional grouping, but it resembled rather the playful spirit of Dada, where the artists transformed their own life into a show of self-irony, using pompous formulae, which both hid and emphasized the misery of their daily grind. Irony and humour were the tools used by the deprived youth to make their lives more bearable, though the loaf of bread on the table in their still-lives was actually just a shell, and the tenants even learned to make soup from potato peel. Their idealism, talent and aspirations forged a friendship, solidarity and an ethos adapted to withstand and overcome the harsh circumstances they found themselves in. The artists’ dedication to modern art alloyed with a kind of cult of friendship, which clearly comes through in their work. Seen through the filter of existentialism, where their poverty was compensated for by a greater spiritual freedom, the art of this generation will define the characteristics of this regional artistic centre for many years to come: the moderate modernist language and the inclination towards human and existential values – an often religious creed for life. It is also a moment of synchronization, when these tendencies communicated with the general need of the modern art to restore the image and the concern for the human. This exhibition – the first that aims to present the art of Cluj between the wars – gives the public the chance to see the emblematic works of this generation, along with some of their teachers’ works, who introduced the discipline of modern art to Cluj. Many of the works are being exhibited for the first time in 80 years. Thus, among the 60 works are the painting Lunch by Tasso Marchini – presented in the exhibition in 1933, Iréne by Fülöp Antal Andor or Crucifixion by Eugen Gâscă – masterpieces of Romanian art.