CRITICAL REVIEW

Marcel Iancu (architect, urban planner, painter, draughtsman, illustrator) - leading figure of Romanian architectural modernism - is recognized in particular for the bridge that he created between European avant-garde and Romania, for his fight for freedom from the conventionalism of the past.

Returning from his studies abroad, together with M.H. Maxy, Miliţa Pătraşcu, Mattis Teutsch and Corneliu Michăilescu, he engaged in establishing and programmatically promoting the modernist movement in Romania, influencing both architecture and urban planning, fine arts as well as decorative arts. In 1922, he organized the first avant-garde exhibition in our country and founded the first avant-garde magazine - Contimporanul.

The first modernist buildings in Romania appear in 1926 and are the work of Marcel Iancu. He was attributed the vision driving change in interior decoration at the time, shaped by the impulses launched by the European architects of the Modern Movement.

In his architectural creation, we notice a remarkable craftsmanship in designing unconventionally shaped spaces. For instance, in the case of Solly Gold building, Iancu designed the interior decoration together with the furniture, and the result was a high end rental property. Located at the intersection of two streets, the building is shaped like an irregular plane pentagon, three of its sides lining the street and organizing, around a central staircase, four apartments, one of which features a two-level void space in the living area - at the time a symbol of modernity. On the outside, the volumetric decomposition is clearly perceived; the differences between the two lateral street facades are compositionally articulated by the facade on the corner, both through the interlocking expressed by the concave space on the top level and by emphasizing horizontality expressed through the continuous plane balcony parapets.

Elena Georgiana IVAN (2016)
 


IMAGES



    BIOGRAPHY

    (May 24, 1895, Bucharest - April 22, 1984, Ein Hod, Israel)
     
    Academic/specialized studies
    1910-1914 - He studied with Expressionist painter-draughtsman Iosif Iser (1891-1958);
    1914 - Attended mathematics and chemistry courses at the University in Zürich;
    1915 - He was admitted at the Polytechnic School in Zürich (E.T.H), the architecture course;
    1919 - After graduation he got the title of ’’Ingenieur”.
     
    Professional activity
    1916 - Founding member of the Dada movement, together with Hugo Ball, Emmy Hennings, Hans Arp, Tristan Tzara, R. Huelsenbeck, and later, Hans Richter;
    1920-1921 - Together with a French associate owned the architecture office „Janco & Déquiré Reconstruction, dommages de guerre, arpentages, lotissements”;
    1922 - The first issue of the avant-garde magazine Contimporanul was published and Marcel Iancu became the magazine’s art director and financial supporter;
    ? - He was part of the editorial staff of the architecture and urbanism magazine Arta şi Oraşul;
    1934-1943 - Member of the Association for the promotion of urbanism, together with Octav Doicescu and Horia Creangă;
    1944-1946 - Architect within the Urbanism Department of Tel Aviv, Israel;
    1948-1953 - Employee of the Ministry of Labour and Construction, Tel Aviv, Israel.
     


    PROJECTS


    COMPLETED PROJECTS

    Architectural projects
    Houses
    1922 - 7 buildings on Iancu Alley, 79 Trinităţii Street, Bucharest;
    1926 - Herman Iancu building, 55 Maximilian Popper Street, Bucharest;
    1927 - Henri Daniel villa, 9 Ceres Street, Bucharest (demolished);
    1928 - Fuchs Villa, 33 Negustori Street, Bucharest;
    1928 - Lambru villa, 5 Popa Savu Street, Bucharest;
    1929 - Poldi Chapier Building, 4 Intrarea Ipătescu, Bucharest;
    1930 - Bordeeanu villa, 118 Labirint Street, Bucharest;
    1930 - Florica Chihăescu villa, 49 Kiseleff Blvd., Bucharest;
    1931 - Paul Iluţă villa, 23 Olari Street, Bucharest;
    1931 - Clara Iancu building, 20 Caimatei Street, Bucharest;
    1931 - Paul Wexler villa, 36 Grigore Mora Street, Bucharest;
    1931 - Jean Juster villa, 75 Silvestru Street, Bucharest;
    1933 - Jacques Costin building, Street Paleologu 5, Bucharest;
    1933 - Clara Iancu building, 5 bis Paleologu Street, Bucharest;
    1934 - Solly Gold building, 38 Hristo Botev Street, Bucharest;
    1935 - Frida Choen building, 17 Stelea Spătaru Street, Bucharest;
    1935 - Alexandrescu building, 179 Traian Street, Bucharest;
    1935 - Poldi Chapier building, Mateescu Parcelling, 58 Popa Nan Street, Bucharest;
    1935 - Bazaltin building, 2 Piaţa Aviatorilor, Bucharest;
    1935 - Eugen Carniol building, 10 Dăniceni Street, Bucharest;
    1935 - Paul Iluţă laboratories, 23 Olari Street, Bucharest;
    1935 - Building, 3 Pictor Ştefan Luchian Street, Bucharest;
    1935-1937 - Poldi Chapier building, 16a Onciu Street, Bucharest;
    1936 - Florica Reich villa, 39 Grigore Mora Street, Bucharest;
    1937 - Hermine Hassner villa, 32 Pictor Iscovescu Street, Bucharest;
    1937 - David Hainovici and Sigmund Vătăşescu apartment building, 12 Olteni Street, Bucharest;
    1937 - 13 houses in 25-29 Trinităţii Parcelling, Bucharest;
    1937 - Miliţa Pătraşcu villa, 19 Pictor Negulici Street, Bucharest;
    1938 - Naum Ghica building, 5 Nicolae Golescu Street, Bucharest.
     
    Public buildings
    1926 - Suchard pavilion, Moşilor Fair, Bucharest (demolished);
    1929 - F.S.S.R. pool (Kiseleff pool), Kiseleff Blvd., Bucharest;
    1934 - Bucegi Sanatorium;
    1936 - Popper Sanatorium, Predeal.
     
    PROJECTS NOT COMPLETED
    Architectural projects
    1925 - Wsorkshop design project in the country for Ion Vinea;
    1925 - Volumetry study for a sky-scraper;
    1925 - Design project for a Post and Telegraph;
    1926 - Holiday house for Mihail Sorbul.
     
    Urban planning projects
    1948 - 1953 - As an employee of the Ministry of Labour and Construction he designed urban plans in relation to specific climatic conditions and park design.
     
    Restoration projects
    1948 - 1953 - He was engaged in the restoration of the historic centres of Jaffa, Lod and Ramleh, Israel.
     
    Art projects
    1912 - Contributed drawings to Simbolul magazine, led by Ion Vinea (I. Iovanachi) and Tristan Tzara (Samy Rosenstock);
    1912-1913 - Exhibited graphic works and paintings at ’’Tinerimea Artistică” and the Official Salon, Bucharest;
    1915 - Painted the first painting in the series „Bal la Zürich” (Tel Aviv Museum, Israel);
    1916 - Exhibited for the first time at Cabaret Voltaire, Paris;
    1916 - 1919 - Drew posters and illustrated no. 1-3 of Dada magazine;
    1917 (January) - Took part in the first Dada exhibition at Carray Gallery (later known as Dada Gallery);
    1917 (May) - Took part in the graphics, embroidery and reliefs exhibition at Dada Gallery;
    1918 - Began a series of painted plaster works applied on sackcloth, he would work on until 1922;
    1918 (September) - Took part in the exhibition „Das Neue Kunst”, at Kunstsalon Wolfsberg, Zürich;
    1918 (November) - Took part in the first exhibition „Das Neue Leben”, at Kunsthalle Basel;
    1919 (January) - Took part in the exhibition „Das Neue Leben”, at Kunsthaus, Zürich and then Basel;
    1920 (January) - Took part in the 3rd exhibition „Das Neue Leben”, at Kunsthalle, Bern;
    1920 (May) - Took part in the 4th exhibition „Das Neue Leben”, at Kunsthalle, Basel;
    1922 (December 26) - Opened his first solo exhibition at la Maison d’Art, Bucharest;
    1924 (November 30) - The first international ’’Contimporanul” exhibition opened, with the participation of H. Arp, K. Schwitters, P. Klee, H. Richter, V. Eggeling, M. Szczuka, L. Kassak, K. Teige, Marcel Iancu, Constantin Brâncuşi, M. Henry Maxy, M. Teutsch, Victor Brauner, Milița Pătraşcu. Marcel Iancu exhibited 16 paintings, 10 architectural drawings, a mockup, furniture;
    1924 - He exhibited, at „Capşa”, portraits of the collaborators of „Mişcarea Literară”, signed by Marcel Iancu;
    1925 - Illustrated with 70 portraits Antologia poeţilor de azi, editors I. Pillat and Perpessicius;
    1925 (November 30) - Took part with two painting in the exhibition L’art d’aujourd’hui, la Syndicat des antiquaries, Paris;
    1926 (March) - Took part in an exhibition with Miliţa Pătraşcu, at Queen Maria Hall, where he exhibited 38 paintings, 16 graphic artworks and 6 stained glass designs;
    1926 (December) - Took part in a painting, sculpture and graphics exhibition, in the hall of Hasefer bookshop, Bucharest;
    1927 (September) - Took part with 3 works in Exposition d’Art Roumain, Bucharest;
    1930 (May) - Took part in the retrospective exhibition of the Romanian avant-garde group, organized at the headquarters of Facla newspaper, Bucharest;
    1939 - Last exhibition in Romania, with Milița Pătraşcu, at Ghica Hall in Bucharest;
    1952 - He participated, as representative of the state of Israel at the Biennieal in Venice;
    1957 - He was appointed commissioner of the state of Israel at the Biennial in São Paolo.
     
    Editorial activity
    1924 - „Insemnări despre artă”, in Contimporanul magazine, no. 45;
    1924 - „Stil nou: Arhitectură”, in Contimporanul magazine, no. 48;
    1925 - „Brâncuşi”, in Contimporanul magazine, no. 52;
    1925 - „Arhitectura nouă”, in Contimporanul magazine, no. 53-54;
    1925 - „Originile mişcărei moderne”, in Mişcarea Literară, no. 11;
    1925 - „Concursul Palatului Comunal”, in Mişcarea Literară, no. 12;
    1925 - „Concursul Palatului Comunal”, in Mişcarea Literară, no. 13;
    1925 - „Arhitectura”, in Mişcarea Literară, no. 15;
    1925 - „Arhitectură”, in Mişcarea Literară, no. 19;
    1925 - „Concursuri de arhitectură”, in Mişcarea Literară, no. 24;
    1925 - „Constructivism şi arhitectură”, in Contimporanul magazine, no. 53-54;
    1925 - „Filmul”, in Contimporanul magazine, no.55-56;
    1925 - „Interiorul”, in Contimporanul magazine, no. 57-58;
    1925 - „Arhitectura de planşetă”, in Contimporanul magazine, no. 60;
    1925 - „Arhitectura mânie”, in Contimporanul magazine, no. 61;
    1925 - „Arhitectură”, in Contimporanul magazine, no. 62;
    1925 - „Estetica nouă”, in Contimporanul magazine, no. 63;
    1925 - „Urbanism”, Arta și Oraşul, no. 3;
    1925 - „Inălţimi, alinieri şi urbanism”, Arta şi Oraşul, no. 4;
    1926 - „Bucharesti accidentelor”, in Contimporanul magazine, no. 70;
    1926 - „Cubism”, in Contimporanul magazine, no. 70;
    1927 - „Expoziţia Werkbund: Die Wohnung”, in Contimporanul magazine, no. 72;
    1927 - „Colorit”, in Contimporanul magazine, no. 73;
    1927 - „Aforisme despre artă”, in Contimporanul magazine, no. 73;
    1928 - „Cărţi de arhitectură nouă”, in Contimporanul magazine, no. 77;
    1928 - „Expoziţii 1928”, in Contimporanul magazine, no. 77;
    1929 - „Arhitectura”, in Contimporanul magazine, no. 78;
    1929 - „Le Corbusier”, in Contimporanul magazine, no. 80;
    1929 - „Brâncuşi, sculptorul tainelor”, in Contimporanul magazine, no. 83;
    1931 - „Scrisoare către arh. Cantacizino”, in Contimporanul magazine, no. 99;
    1934 - „Urbanism nu romantism”, Oraşul, no. 2;
    Dec. 9, 1934 - „Un sanatoriu in Bucegi”, Realitatea ilustrată;
    1935 - „Utopia Bucureștilor”, in the volume Către o arhitectura a Bucureștilor.
     
    Competitions. Awards and distinctions
    1945-1946 - Dizengoff prize, awarded annually for painting and sculpture by Tel Aviv-Yafo, since 1937;
    1958 - The national award of the Histadrut union;
    1967 - He won „Israel Independence Prize” for his entire artistic career.
     


    BIBLIOGRAPHY

    CONSTANTIN, Paul, Dicţionar universal al arhitecţilor, Editura Ştiinţifică şi Enciclopedică, Bucharest, 1986;
    CRITICOS, Mihaela, Art Déco sau modernismul bine temperat/ Art Déco or well-tempered modernism, Editura Simetria, Bucharest, 2009;
    MACHEDON, Luminiţa, SCHOFFHAM, Ernie, Romanian Modernism (The Architecture of Bucharest, 1920-1940), MIT Press, Cambridge, 1999;
    Catalog Centenar Marcel Iancu, 1895 – 1995, Editura Simetria, Bucharest, Uniunea Arhitecţilor din România, 1996.