National Painting Collection counts over 3000 works. It represents a synthesis comprising more than a century of national painting reflecting its most important trends and features noticeable in the works made by Vladimir Okushko, Pavel Piscarev, Dumitru Sevastianov, Auguste Baillayre, Eugenia Maleshevschi, Valentina Rusu-Ciobanu, Mihai Grecu, Igor Vieru, Ada Zevin, Eleonora Romanescu, Mihail Petric, Glebus Sainciuc, Ion Jumati, Vasile Cojocaru, Elena Bontea, Olga Orlova, Sergiu Ciciuc, Dumitru Peicev, Andrei Sirbu etc.
Bessarabian art from the end of the 19th – first half of the 20th century remains until today little known and explored. It appeared at the end of the 19th century under the influence of itinerant exhibitions of Russian and Ukrainian painters and achieves its peak of evolution by the 30ies-40ies of the 20th century.
In a short period of time there appears in Chisinau the first School of Drawing (1887), School of Fine Arts (1919) and Society of Fine Arts (1921). Representatives of these societies, though living in different historical conditions in Europe or Russia, interpreted the universal stylistic phenomena in an original way.
All these distinctive peculiarities may be identified in the works of A. Baillayre, E. Maleshevski, A. Plamadeala, P. Shilingovschi, T. Kiriakoff etc.
The trends of “peredvijnik” art, impressionists, post-impressionists, Art Nouveau style that manifested themselves in Bassarabian art were influenced by different cultural centers: Saint Petersburg, Odessa, Paris, Munich, Amsterdam, Bucharest and Brussels. These artistic tendencies, though placed far away from their initial sources, coexisted simultaneously in Bassarabian arts interfering and overlapping each other even in the works of one and the same artist.
It has been insufficiently studied in the 50ies-70ies of the 20th century because it was considered by soviet authorities as formalist and “bourgeois” one. For almost 50 years it has been excluded from the cultural circulation of modern art goods.
In fact, this epoch served as a liaison between late medieval art and contemporary one. Its mediators A. Baillayre, L. Dubinovschi, T. Kiriakoff and others continued their work in the after war years that changed the priorities and requirements in accordance with the needs of the “realist socialism”.
After the occupation of the territory of Bassarabia in 1940 and 1944 the situation of the arts changed extremely. The realist art of Russian “peredvijniki” from the middle of the 19th century, the subjects and motifs dedicated to “new life”, collective farms, construction of communism were required from painters.
For the majority of the artists who made their studies in Bucharest or in Europe these impediments became a real drama. Many of them found their refuge abroad and those who remained tried to keep the same level of art in the new conditions.
On the same artistic positions remained authors like M. Grecu, V. Rusu Ciobanu, L. Dubinovschi, S. Ciokolov, A. Zevin though, at the beginning, they were imposed to comply with the “state order”. They were followed by representatives of the younger generation like I. Vieru, E. Romanescu, A. David, A. Sirbu, V. Bolboceanu whose works entered the real values of national art.