Alexandre Istrati

Romanian/French, 1915-1991 Biography

Alexandre Istrati was born in Romania in 1915. At the early age of nine he began to paint, but decided to study law at the University of Bucharest from 1932-1937. In 1938, Istrati received his diploma from the Art Academy of Bucharest, where he acted as professor until 1947. He married the Romanian painter Natalia Dumitresco in 1939.

Istrati received many awards for his work in Bucharest. He was named “Salon Officiel” and obtained the Prize of the Musée Simu in Bucharest in 1941. He participated in painting exhibitions in Bucharest from 1941 through 1946.

Because of a French grant in 1947, Istrati and his wife were able to move to Paris where they definitively established themselves. Istrati studied at the atelier of French cubist André Lhote and at the Ecole de Beaux Arts in Paris.

Istrati and Dumitresco befriended the legendary sculptor Constantini Brancusi, himself a displaced Romanian. At his request, the couple moved into a studio next door to his at 11 Impasse Ronsin, in the XVth arrondisement of Paris. They worked for Brancusi for nine years, until his death in 1957. Istrati and Dumitresco were named the legal executors of his will. Together with his wife, Istrati reorganized the “studio Brancusi” in the Pompidou Center in Paris, dedicated in 1977, as a wing of this illustrious museum. Istrati moved with Dumitresco in 1958 from l’Impasse Ronsin to 18 Rue Sauvageot, where they built their ateliers on a property left to them by Brancusi. They both became naturalized French citizens in 1965.

Istrati’s pictures are colorful and romantic. They open a world of sounds and colors. What appears chaotic is a passionate growth of the colors. Sometimes the color swabs sit easily like powder on the canvas, other times they are sucked in with the movement of the composition.  

He received the Kandinsky Prize in 1953. In 1955, he participated in the Premio Lissone in Milan, and in 1957 in the Carnegie Institute Exhibition in Pittsburgh. He was Member of the Comité du Salon d’Octobre in Paris from 1952-53, Member of the Comité du Salon des Réalités Nouvelles in Paris from 1955 to 1965, and Member of the Comité du Salon Comparaisons in Paris from 1965 onwards.

Prize of the Musée Simu, Bucharest, 1941
Prix Kandinsky, 1953
Comité du Salon d’Octobre, Paris, France
Comité du Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, Paris, France
Comité du Salon Comparaisons, Paris, France

Galerie Craven, Paris, France, 1950
Galerie Colette Allendy, Paris, France, 1952
Gallery Circle and Square, New York, New York, 1953
Galerie Denise Réné, Paris, France, 1954
Premio Lissone, Milan, Italy, 1955
Galerie Craven, Paris, France, 1956
Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1957
Galerie Europe, Brussels, Belgium, 1957
Galeria de Arte Contemporanea, Caracas, Venezuela, 1957
World House Galleries, New York, New York, 1958
Gres Gallery, Washington, D.C., 1959
Galleria del Naviglio, Milan, Italy, 1959
Galerie de la revue XXème siècle, Paris, 1960
Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, Germany, 1960
Hanover Gallery, London, England, 1961

Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France
Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre National d'Art et de Culture Georges Pomidou, Paris, France
Foundation Maeght, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France
Musée d'Art Contemporain, Dunkerque, France
Musée d'Art et d'Industrie, Saint-Étienne, France
Muséedes Beaux-Arts, Nantes, France
Musée Des-piau-Wlerick, Mont-de-Marsan, France
Musée Picasso, Antibes, France
Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Madrid, Spain
Kunsthalle, Zurich, Switzerland
Städtische Kunsthalle, Mannheim, Germany
Musée de l'État, Bucharest, Romania
Musée de l'État, Sofia, Bulgaria
Fordham University, Bronx, New York
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, New York, New York
Saint-Louis University, Missouri
San Francisco Museum, California
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Smithsomian Institution, Washington D.C.

Oil on canvas
35 x 51 ⅛ inches
Signed lower right: A. Istrati
Executed 1950