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Belle Baranceanu (1902-1988)

Belle Goldschlager Baranceanu began her studies at the Minneapolis School of Art. While living in Chicago during the 1920s she studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and eventually began as teaching art while she continued her painting. Baranceanu moved to San Diego in 1933. Like many artists during the Great Depression, she painted murals for the Public Works of Art Project in the La Jolla Post Office and Roosevelt Jr. High School.

She exhibited her work at galleries and museums including Carnegie Institute, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Denver Art Museum, among others. Baranceanu also taught courses at the La Jolla School of Arts & Crafts and Frances Parker School. Her works are held in the collections of the San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Historical Society, among others.

During the 1940s Baranceanu painted in a style similar to Depression-era WPA muralist work.  One of her paintings, a depiction of a mother and her two children, it is a traditional subject but painted with a modernist sensibility. Baranceanu’s subjects are painted with a distinguishable flatness and are not heavily modeled as in traditional historic portraits.  Her palette consisted of bold colors. The trees depicted in the background of some of her works appear almost fresco-like in their animated simplicity.


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