Eva Cerbu

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Eva Cerbu Siegler

Bucharest, 1924 - Bucharest, 2008

The Life

Anti-Semitic laws forced her out of school when she was just 16, and without the prospect of higher education in sight, she reinvented herself and jumped headfirst into the art world.

The Art

Eva Cerbu Sigler stands apart on the art scene through her wood and linoleum engravings, these taking precedence over oil painting because of the way they could be shaped to fit her creativity.

Modest beginnings

Eva Cerbu Siegler was born in Bucharest on the 24th of August 1924. She was the daughter of a metallurgist and a housewife, both of Jewish descent, who lived a modest life in a modest corner of the universe.

Her youth wasn't as perfect as one would presume, mostly because it was affected by her ethnicity, meaning she had to interrupt her studies due to the anti-Semitic laws which were being enforced, in 1940.

One step back, two steps forward

With her prospects of higher education ruined, Eva turned her life around and the following year enrolled in art courses at the Jewish School for Arts and Apprenticeship, under the mentorship of Max Hermann Maxy. Four years later, the ban on Jewish artistic education was lifted and Siegler got the chance to study at the School of Decorative Design (until 1948), this time under the guidance of both Maxy and Stern Gusti. Maxy remained her mentor until the end of her artistic studies, including the time she went to the "Nicolae Grigorescu" Institute of Fine Arts. Later in her career, she was taught and guided through a course on "painting improvement" by Alexandru Ciucurencu (1948-1950).

Finding solace

Despite her schooling, Eva abandoned painting quite early in her artistic life and focused on wood and linoleum engraving. She stood apart through her strong and spontaneous personality, much to the appreciation of her colleagues and critics. The artist loved wood and talked fondly about it. She stated that "Wood is good, patient, it lets itself be shaped and can offer a lot. I have fallen in love with it".

Eva's style was serious, frank, and "in essential terms about essential states" as her colleagues and critics would put it. Moreover, in the engravings made by Eva Cerbu, we can observe that although she renounced painting, she could not eliminate the principles of painting from her artistic style, always keeping them in sight when creating.


Storm at sea

Oil, canvas, 55 x 80 cm

Storm at sea