Ion Jalea

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Ion Jalea
Ion Jalea (cropped).jpg
Jalea in his studio
Born(1887-07-19)July 19, 1887
DiedNovember 7, 1983(1983-11-07) (aged 96)
Alma materBucharest National University of Arts
Académie Julian
Known forSculpture
Notable work
Resting Archer
Statue of George Enescu
Statue of Carmen Sylva
Dragoș and the bison
AwardsOrder of the Star of the Romanian Socialist Republic
Hero of Socialist Labour
ElectedTitular member of the Romanian Academy

Ion Jalea (Romanian pronunciation: [iˈon ˈʒale̯a]; 19 May 1887 – 7 November 1983) was a Romanian sculptor, medallist, titular member of the Romanian Academy.


Artistic studies[edit]

Hercules and the Centaur, in Herăstrău Park
Resting Archer, at Constanța
Carmen Sylva (Queen Elisabeth), at Constanța

Jalea was born on 19 May 1887 in the little town of Casimcea, Tulcea County. His family moved in 1893 to Ciocârlia de Jos village, from where he went on to the Mircea cel Bătrân High School in Constanța.[1][2] He then studied at the School of Arts and Crafts (in Romanian, Școala de Arte și Meserii) and from 1909 at the National University of Arts in Bucharest, where he was the pupil of the renowned Romanian sculptors Frederic Storck and Dimitrie Paciurea. His first personal exhibit occurred in May 1915.

Starting in 1916, his artistic education was pursued in Paris at the Académie Julian. At the time, he worked alongside Henri Coandă as apprentice in sculpture in Auguste Rodin's atelier, after which he continued in Antoine Bourdelle's studio.[3]

World War I[edit]

After Romania entered World War I in August 1916 on the side of the Alies, Jalea returned home. In 1917, he volunteered into the Romanian Army, and fought in a series of battles on the Moldavian front, at Corbu, Măxineni, and Nămoloasa.[1] On August 17, 1917, he was severely wounded; after being treated at Galați and then Iași, doctors managed to save his left foot, but his left arm had to be amputated next to the shoulder. For his valor, he was decorated with the Romanian Order of the Crown, Knight rank, and the French Croix de Guerre, which was conferred to him by general Henri Mathias Berthelot.[3]


After recuperating, despite being an amputee, Jalea continued to dedicate his life to sculpture, as he did before. He became a well-known sculptor by working with his right arm only, and his greatest achievements were after he lost his arm.[4][1]

Jalea won a prize at the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition,[4] received one of the Grand Prizes at the Paris Exhibition of 1937 for the monument Romania and its provinces, and participated in the 1939 New York World's Fair.[3] In 1932, he became professor at the Bucharest National University of Arts, and in 1942 director at the Ministry of Arts.[4]


During his long artistic career, Jalea authored numerous monuments, statues, busts, reliefs, and allegorical compositions, aiming to glorify significant facts or personalities. His sculpture technique blends the pictorial quality of the shaped surface — the influence of Paciurea and Rodin — with a rigorous spatial formation, complemented by the harmony and balance of shapes, so specific to Bourdelle.[2]

Coin design[edit]

In 1935, he designed the 250 lei coin, which features the Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Romania and the Effigy of King Carol II.[7]

Awards and distinctions[edit]

In 1941, Jalea received the Romanian National Prize for sculpture. In 1948, he was elected corresponding member of the Romanian Academy, and in 1955, he was promoted to titular member of the Academy. In 1956, he became President of the Union of Romanian Plastic Artists. In 1966, he was awarded the Order of Cultural Merit, first class, for the sculpture Hercules and the Centaur.[1] In 1962, he was awarded the Order of the Star of the Romanian People's Republic, first class, while in 1971, he was awarded the title of Hero of Socialist Labour and the "Hammer and Sickle" medal.


The Ion Jalea Museum of Sculpture is located in Constanța, close to the Casino. The building, designed by the architect Victor Ștefănescu [ro] after World War I, was turned in a museum in 1968, when Jalea donated to the city part of his private art collection. After his death, the collection was completed with sculptures donated by his family, arriving at a total of 227 works of art.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d Iancu, Mariana. "Ion Jalea, constănțeanul care a sculptat toata viața cu o singură mână. Operele superbe îi sunt expuse peste tot in lume". Adevărul (in Romanian). Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  2. ^ a b Rus Pîrvan, Lelia (2017). "One artist on the seashore – The Ion Jalea Museum" (PDF). Învățământ, Cercetare, Creație. 3 (1): 148–151.
  3. ^ a b c Lăpușan, Aurelia (August 14, 2017). "Portrete. Oameni care au făcut istorie culturală în Dobrogea: Ion Jalea (galerie foto)". Ziua de Constanța (in Romanian). Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c "Documentar: 35 de ani de la moartea sculptorului Ion Jalea" (in Romanian). Agerpres. November 11, 2018. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  5. ^ "Monumentul eroilor CFR din Capitală". (in Romanian). March 21, 2018. Retrieved May 15, 2020.
  6. ^ "Mausoleul Eroilor de la Mărășești (Jud. Vrancea)". (in Romanian). Retrieved May 15, 2020.
  7. ^ "250 Lei 1935, Carol II (1930 - 1940) - Romania - Coin - 659".
  8. ^ "Muzeul Ion Jalea" (in Romanian). Retrieved May 12, 2020.

External links[edit]

Media related to Ion Jalea at Wikimedia Commons