Brief history of the Art Photographers Association of RomaniaBrief history of the Art Photographers Association of Romania
On November 28th 1956, the Ministry of Culture issued the Order no.1657 which authorized the foundation of the Association of Photographer Artists (AAF). Article nr.1 states that "the foundation and the activity of the Association of Photographer Artists are authorized, the main headquarters being in Bucharest". The order is undersigned by the first deputy minister Ion Pas. The copy which is identical with the original is entitled "1.f.6 ex. 24XI 1956, has an undecipherable signature as well as a round shaped seal "R.P.R. - Ministry of Culture".
In accordance with the Order of the Ministry of Culture, the official foundation act of AAF was drawn up probably between November 28th and 30th 1956 (on the xerox copy of the document one can note only the month and the year, not the day).
The foundation act contains the following:
I. The name of the Association will be: Association of Photographer Artists of the Popular Republic of Romania.
II. The headquarters of the Association are in Bucharest, district I.V. Stalin, Piata Scanteii, nr.1
III. The Association is organized according to to the regulations appended to the present judicial act and which have been approved by the undersigning founding members, who represent the first constituent general assembly of the Association.
IV. The members of the first constituent general assembly of the Association have elected the following management committee:
1. Averescu George
2. Bauch Aurel
3. dr. Constantin Spiru
4. ing. Comănescu Siviu
5. Cernescu Sever
6. Hahanel Ion
7. Iarovici Eugen
8. Löffler Weisselberger Hedy
9. Lovinescu Andrei
10. ing. Mărculescu Herberth
11. Marinov Iulian
12. Roman Bazil
13. Spitzer Clara
14. ing. Silistrăreanu Cornel
15. ing. Tomescu Nicolae
16. Tibor Löwy
17. Vulpaş Gheorghe.
On December 1st 1956, the foundation act and the Association regulation were presented for certification to the chief notary at the State Notary, district Stalin (present day sector 1). The documents are signed by the founding members: Aurel Bauch, ing. C. Silistrăreanu, Eugen Iarovici, Hedy Löffler - Weisselberger , Vulpaş Gheorghe, Hahanel I, Lovinescu A, ing. Comănescu Siviu, dr. Constantin Spiru, Lőwy Tibor, Gheorghe Şerban, Kauffman Alfred, ing Mărculescu Herbert, ing Tomescu Nicolae, Marinov Iulian, Spitzer Clara, Grigorescu Dan, Bacal Lidia, Tadeus Cios, Mihai Popescu, Hausleitner Frederic, ing. Bubulea A si Cernescu Sever.
One year later, on November 30th 1957, the panel of judges of the People’s Court of district I.V. Stalin, Bucharest – constituted by Mihai Bejan (president), Bier Magda and Anghel Gheorghe (people’s assessors), Itta Rosner (prosecutor) and Aur Ion (secretary) pronounced in favour of civil dossier nr.8867/1957 regarding the legal constitution of the Association of Photographer Artists of R.P.R., located in Bucharest, Piata Scanteii nr.1, district Stalin.
The present-day AAFR secretariate detains the xerox copy of civil sentence nr.7409, pronounced in public session on November 30th 1957, regarding the legal constitution of the Association of Photographer Artists of R.P.R. Based on this document, the Judge’s Office in Oradea passed the sentence, in public session, on January 16th 2009, with respect to the modification of the AAFR Statute, admitting its status as lawful successor of the Association of Photographer Artists of R.P.R. (founded in 1957).
In 1960, the headquarters of the Association were located in the central area of Bucharest, on the groundfloor of “Universul��? building, 24 Brezoianu Street, where one could find a library and a photographic art gallery (the only permanent gallery of the kind in Romania, where monthly exhibitions of photographer artists from Romania and abroad were organized). AAF owned also a hall in a building on Schitu Magureanu Street (in the neighbourhood of present-day “Tinerimea Romana��? Ensemble), where a studio endowed with unique technical equipment was settled.
The Association of Photographer Artists organized, during this period, the well known International Salon of Romania, most of the editions at Dalles Gallery in Bucharest, while the last one, the 18th edition, was hosted by the Art Museum in Brasov.
In 1966-1989 period, AAF published a number of 198 monthly and bimonthly issues of AAF Bulletin, named “Fotografia��? and distributed free of charge to all AAF members.
The history of AAFR after the year 1990 can be found in the correspondence kept, wholly, at the headquarters of the Photographic Club “Nufarul��? Oradea. For example, one of the letters, dated 1996, has an appended report of activity of the managing board of directors during 1990-1992 period, undersigned by the president and his 4 counsellors (Emanuel Pârvu, Dan Steriu, Silviu Comănescu si Cătălin Emilescu), according to which the number of subscribing members, during 1989-1992 period, was as follows:
- 1989: 1474 members registered, out of which 646 subscribing photographer artists
- 1990: 1531 members registered, out of which 465 subscribing photographer artists
- 1991: 1560 members registered, out of which 447 subscribing photographer artists
- 1992: 1615 members registered, out of which 350 subscribing photographer artists.
In the archives of the Photographic Club “Nufarul��? Oradea (CFNO) there is no AAF document regarding the organization of any General Meeting between 1990 and 1996.
Five years later, AAF sent us a letter, dated May 2001, to announce the death of two personalities of photographic art in Romania: dr. Napoleon-Ioan Frandin (born 1914) and engineer Constantin Săvulescu – EFIAP (born 1914).
A folder published at that time informs us that AAF has 8 regional subsidiaries: Banat, Bucovina, Bucuresti, Dobrogea, Moldova, Muntenia, Oltenia and Transilvania, as well as 17 affiliated photographic clubs: “Arad��? in Arad, “Aurel Mihailopol��? in Botosani, “Argus��? din Oradea, “Craiova��? din Craiova, “Clio��? din Targu Jiu, “Exdeco��? din Brasov, “Floarea de Colt��? din Râmnicu Valcea, “Harghita��? din Miercurea Ciuc, ��?Iris��? din Timisoara, “Napoca��? din Cluj Napoca, “Nufarul��?din Oradea, “Obiectiv��? din Campina, “Orizont��? din Sibiu, “Prisma��? din Miercurea Ciuc, “Solaris��? din Slatina, “Targu Mures��? din Targu Mures, “79��? din Sibiu si 1500 membri individuali.
By the end of November 2002, AAF mails to the photographic clubs in Romania a letter with the following information: “At the beginning of October, the managing committee of the Association ( Viorel Simionescu EFIAP, Emanuel Pârvu AFIAP, Gheorghe Rizeanu EFIAP, Gheorghe Blejdea si Niţu Zisu ) held a meeting and examined the situation created by the repeated summons to evacuate the rooms which had been occupied in the building situated at nr.107 Calea Victoriei, with the permission of the Art Museum of Romania – because the building is planned to be renovated in the spring of 2003; as direct consequence the Association will be turned out of doors. Therefore, the committee decided that the activity of the Association can no longer be carried out in Bucharest, due to the following reasons:
- there is no appropriate space to deposit the archives and the inventory objects of the Association;
- there is no staff for communication with photographic clubs nationwide and abroad, nor to organize exhibitions etc.;
- there is no money in order to pay for the rent, commodities, the organization of exhibitions at home and abroad;
- there is no support of local institituions.��?
As a consequence, it was proposed a transfer of the entire activity of AAF and of its patrimony to a representative center of art photography and club activity.
These are the circumstances in which, in 2007, five well known photographer artists, presidents of five photographic clubs, have started the reconstruction of AAFR, on new legal basis, in order to reactivate the photographic movement in Romania.
( Text: Stefan Toth AFIAP )
(Translate by Ruxandra Negrea)