Victor Tapu

The years pass as water over stones polishing them to perfection, in the same way an artist’s craftsmanship is enhanced year by year.

Allow me as his destined and honored partner to sprinkle fonts upon you describing his wondrous 77 year journey as we explore the inspirational evolution of the renowned artist VICTOR TAPU.

Victor was the fifth child of a Romanian teacher Ioan Tapu and his wife Paraschiva Tapu also a teacher. He was born on March 17, 1944. Victor has a twinkle in his eye when he describes the happy event that brought him into the world: “My father, a cavalry captain in World War II was fighting in the Tatra Mountains. Upon receiving a short permit to visit his family, the result of this short but sweet visit was me”.  His father received the Order “Star of Romania” 5thgrade for his deeds of bravery.

Victor was born in Bacani, a small Moldavian village in Vaslui County, but on the third day of his life his mother and her children had to flee to the west of the country in the face of the Russian invasion.

A dramatic start to a life full of surprises.

After their return from exile the Tapu family settled in Bacau City where the artist was raised. At the age of 13 he enrolled both the School of Arts and his regular high school. His mentor Remus Vranceanu, a pupil of the very famous Romanian painter Nicolae Tonitza, observed Victor’s talent and encouraged him to study arts seriously.  Victor took his mentor’s advice to heart. In 1962 the young artist graduated from high school and enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts “Nicolae Grigorescu” in Bucharest. The Academy conducted a rigid competitive entrance exam process: 20 applicants applied and competed for 1 spot and Victor was awarded that one spot.

Therefore at the age of 18 he moved to the Capital to study scenography and graduated with a Master of Arts degree in stage design and film. All the way the painting remained very important to him.  His technique of “brushing” and “colors” was instilled in him by yet another great artist and his respected professor Catul Bogdan, who had studied in France and became a follower of J. B.  Corot. Victor fondly remembers him.

During his studies Victor became famous for his participation in student shows of satire and humor, an in the national television show “With mask and without mask” in which he quickly drew with his left hand the caricature of the actors in the show.

Victor’s diploma work study was to create sets and costumes for the play “A Suspicious Person” by Branislav Nusic at Dramatic Theater in Galati City.

At that point of his life Victor Tapu started to fulfil his childhood dream: “performing arts and painting will be my life’s work”. For roughly two decades to follow the artist would undertake positions throughout Romania as an art director in the performing arts. During this really busy period he created sets and designed costumes for more than 15 feature and animated movies and over 25 stage theater productions at the Dramatic Theater “George Bacovia” in Bacau, Music-hall Theater “Constantin Tanase” in Bucharest and the Dramatic Theater in Brasov.

Not being someone “to watch the clock” Victor would spend countless hours engaged in successful multimedia artistic endeavors including individual and group fine art exhibitions in Romania and abroad. The artist was successful with fine art exhibitions especially in Poland where he was often invited by dramatic theaters, Department of Culture, Polish Writers Association, etc.

Victor Tapu was born in Romania, but has been always proud of his Polish roots. His grand-grandfather, Jan Fialkowski, immigrated as a young boy with his parents to Moldova Province of Romania after the Krakow uprising at the end of 19 century.

Can it be fate? Maybe! In 1978 the artist had the privilege to meet in Bucharest with the great Polish theater director Jozef Szajna who was the guest of the Department of Culture.

Jozef Szajna was a complex artist: he started as a graphic artist but he was also a stage designer, play writer, theoretician of the theater and a painter. During the WWII occupation of Poland by the Nazis, Szajna was a prisoner in the German concentration camps Auschwitz and Buchenwald between 1941 and 1944. This great artist had a profound influence on the young artist Victor Tapu. From him he learned to always be honest with himself, to serve the truth at any cost and not to discount for the sake of easy success. Their soul connection was strong and long-lasting. Jozef Szajna appreciated Victor’s talent and in 1979 invited him to his “Studio Theater” in Warsaw to perfect and diversify his scenic art and to open an exhibition of collages at the Art Gallery of the “Studio Theater”.

And here is a funny note! In communist Romania the artists were not allowed to take their original artwork abroad without special approval, which required to have relations in the high circles of the party leadership. Victor was not even a simple member of the communist party. He had a brilliant idea: within his luggage he packed disparate elements of his collages: fabrics, beads, pieces of wood, shells, etc. The custom officer, perplexed to see such madness, let him pass.

In Warsaw, Victor reassembled the collages accordingly with his previous sketches.

The exhibit was so successful that the Polish Minister of Culture invited him to open a new exhibit in the famous Palace of Culture of the Polish capital. It was an official event this time and the artist was allowed to take out his artworks. He opted for a wood carving exhibit. The 36 sculptures were sold out in the first day after it opened.