"Damian's work testifies to an ardent desire to spiritualise the act of painting. It does not let itself go or provoke."
—Pierre Restany, Cimaise, 1960
Horia Damian was an important contemporary Romanian painter and sculptor. His geometry is not rigid but is rather sensitive and painterly. Damian felt he was most successful and at his peak when the color he employed was in its glory and was balanced with the geometry. He also had a lifelong interest in the universe and its mysteries. The subtle use of circles, squares, and spheres appeared in his later works as well as in his sculptures especially in The Hill, exhibited at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1976. The beauty of these abstractions is their ability to suggest so much.
Sadly, Damian destroyed many of his early works from the late 1950s. Our example is a rare and key work amongst his early experimental works from 1961. The few works that have survived from his early period show a unique use of geometry within a lyrical and poetic context. Between the circular motif which is suggestive of many things and the inner symbols and markings which conveys everything from ancient cities, man's marks and symbols or a type of grid of civilization, our painting takes the viewer in many directions. About the time Damian painted this work in Paris many of the French abstractionists moved into what was called "tachism", the French version of Abstract Expressionism that was a bit more cerebral and intuitive. Tachism was closely related to "Art Informel" in which these artists explored an intuitive type of abstraction. Often they were intrigued with calligraphy, graffiti, symbols and markings as a form of communication. Here actual solid form in paintings fell away as a number of these artists who were initially influenced by Cubism moved away from the solidity of shapes and forms that exemplified that movement. Damian here is very much in keeping with these ideas and successfully carved out a pictorial approach that is all his own.