At the beginning of the 5th decade of the 20th century, the art collection consisted of works of a single painter – Geo Cardas, a local who transfigured the landscape of the Danube Delta with the people and their occupations depicted in paintings such as Partisans in the delta, Stevedores in the port, The beach in Sulina.
At the beginning of the 6th decade of the last century, the loss of Balchik which was the Romanian Barbizon and the opening of Tulcea and Constanta cities have provided Romanian artists with opportunity to find at Danube’s Mouths the same valences and fascination of light, colour, variety of shapes and local exoticness.
The collection shall be supplemented with the works of other local or adopted artists: Constantin Gavenea, Vasile Pavlov, Gheorghe Sarbu and Stavru Tarasov.
The recent investigation on Danube Delta themes in the painting and graphics collection of the Museum of Fine Arts brought over 72 modern and contemporary painting works and over 200 modern and contemporary graphic works to light.
During the long wondering in the Danube Delta, Romanian artists bequeathed us a significant art dowry.
The artists of the modern period have managed to convey in their works Danube Delta specific atmosphere, with its people and their occupations. The following artists can be mentioned: Nicolae Darascu, Alexandru Satmary, Sarbu Gheorghe, Stefan Popescu, Marius Bunescu, Lucia Cosmescu, Rodica Maniu, Constantin Blendea, Francisc Sirato, Max Waxler Arnold.
In the contemporary period, deltaic motif approach has been diversified, through a transfiguration of the image closer to the immediate figurativeness. Painters like Albani Virgil, Bimbea Dan, Dumitrescu Petre, Enache Gheorghe, Ispir Eugen, Manescu Mihai, Mantescu Marinela, Micu Constantin, Nerbert Carol, Pelmus Maria, Petris Bogdan, Piliuta Constantin, Poiata Viorel, Popovici Petre, Stirbu Stefan, Taralunga Ion, Mircea Vremir and black-and-white artists like Constantin Maria, Ploscaru Ileana, Vlad Nicodin, Maritan Stefan, Suvaila Benone, Besu Marieta, Tudor Nicolae, Movileanu Vasile, Liberis Romeo, Petcu Maria, Teodor Hrib, Soo Zold Margitcan made themselves conspicuous.
Through the refinement of the aquaforte technique, some artists have managed to penetrate the intimacy of places, emphasized by the contrast between the shallows of the delta channels willows and the sun’s reverberations in the water. We mention here artists like Naum Gheorghe, Horia Coriolan, Baillayre Tania, Olarian Mircea, Munteanu Letitia.
Choosing the etching art specific rigor, as a synthesis of the forms reduced to their essential, very dynamic works whose specific is the very laborious degrees of etching are the valences of the artists like Dumitrescu Emilia, Gavrilov Mihail, Balog Lajos, Beiu Angheluta Corina, Szervatius Bach Hedda.
Etchings with sharp contrasts and hachures which confer dynamism are the features of the independent aquaforte works conceived by Gheorghe Ivancencu, Cudinoff Anatolie, Feszt Laszlo, Manolescu Maria, Marcel Chirnoaga. These are works reflecting the delta’s people occupations, the flora, fauna, men and his achievements.
As a symbol art tends to the surreal in the works belonging to Stefan Gavenea, Aurel Burlacu, Pop Ion, Milan Florian, Stanescu Albin, Mihaescu Vintila, Stefan Pelmus.
Works which create the rough and genuine reality is found at Stefan Stirbu, Eugen Barau, Jugaurs Radus, Milan Florian.
The watercolour on wet paper emphasizes the lacustrine vegetation world which seems to melt in the Danube’s waters. Over them, mist steams rise at the upper edges of distant reliefs. The master mentor is Constantin Gavenea, followed by Constantin Maria, Morariu Ion, Botar Editiu, Mircea Horia, Ferendino Florin, Cicerone Ciobanu.
With the synthetic watercolour the detail becomes object for study: in the works of Ana Maria Smigelschi, Kira Cristinel Popescu and Mircea Vremir, there are portions of fronts near Danube’s waters where the chromatic layers with various intensities migrate and interpenetrate.
The postmodernism also holds the valences of the abstract. Contemporary artists seek for a landscape vibrated and turned into abstract shapes. These trends are to be found in the works of Ileanei Micodin, Anca Boeriu, Jakabhazi Alexandru, Gotia Mircea, Filip Traian, Popescu Adriana, Mihai Corneliu, Orth Stefan, Balogh Angela.
Landscapes painted in deltaic sequences are to be found in the works of Iacobescu Stefan, Elvira Micos, Nicolae Saftoiu si Ibrahima Keita.
The transfigurations of the images into signs are spontaneous suggestions of the reality. The trajectories of the painting brush, similar to the falls of the meteorites crosses the immaculate surface of the stand; the contrasts are distinct, the outlines of shapes are modulated; some of them tend to writing. We notice here artists like Doina Simionescu, Alma Rusescu, Viorica Mihaescu, Nitescu Barbu, Avram Ovidiu, Silviu Baias and Lidia Mihaescu.