October 3rd, 2023
Gift of textiles and basketry from the Estate of Paul Smith to the Muzeul Textilelor,
Băița, Hunedoara County, Romania
The Muzeul Textilelor is proud to announce an important donation of 274 artifacts (included in 197 groups) recently received from the Estate of Paul J. Smith, from New York City. This donation encompasses outstanding artifacts from various cultures from Asia, Americas, Africa,
and Australia. This donation is not only enriching the Muzeul Textilelor’s existing collection, but most importantly, is enabling us to fill the gaps within our collection. Especially important are the silk ikats from Central Asia, the Phulkari and Rabari embroideries from India, the Ndebele beadwork, the Pre-Columbian textiles, the South-East Asian costumes and accessories, and basketry from various cultures.
The Museum will use this invaluable donation for exhibitions, scholarly research, students’ studies, and publications.
Paul J. Smith (1931 – 2020) was an artist, an art collector, a curator, and for over twenty years the director of the Museum of Arts and Design (former Museum of Contemporary Crafts) from New York City. He was a prominent figure in promoting, preserving and collecting international craft artifacts, and in refining museums’ approach towards craft arts. Since 1957 Smith was a member of American Craft Council. In 1987 Paul J. Smith became an Emeritus Director of the Museum of Arts and Design. Independently, he continued his work with museums, art organizations and art collections. His work was publicly acclaimed and awarded.
We are enormously thankful to the generous support given to our Museum by the Estate of Paul
J. Smith, and by Mrs. Kathleen Nugent Mangan who initiated and facilitated this gift.
ASOCIATIA “TEXTILE HERITAGE PRESERVATION”
Muzeul Textilelor is a private museum that exhibits the textiles in the FARZ Collection (Florica, Ana and Romulus Zaharia Collection). The Collection includes textiles and tools used in traditional textile production worldwide throughout history; a rich reference collection of fibers, dyes, and textile structures; and a textile related library. The collection encompasses flat textiles, costumes, accessories and tools from Romania, Eastern and Central Europe, Western Europe, the Near East, India, Central Asia, Japan, China, Southeast Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Americas. The strength and uniqueness of the FARZ Collection is that it was created systematically and professionally with a focus on the technical aspects of textiles. We believe it is the only collection of its kind in Eastern Europe. The Muzeul Textilelor has three locations, two in Băiţa, and one in Hărţăgani village, all in Hunedoara County, Romania. The Museum’s main location, Corp A, is an 1857 house located in the center of Băiţa. The house and its garden are currently under restoration. The garden will be made into a tinctorial and textile fiber related garden. Corp B, including administrative spaces, laboratory, conference space and an Art Café, is in a 60s building that used to be the general store of Băiţa. The Museum’s Corp C, which focuses on textile production typical of Hunedoara Region exemplified by artifacts and a textile fiber related garden, is in a farm house located in Hărţăgani village. It has five constructions, two of which are signed by Tripon Petru, 1902, 1912, and one of which is signed by Popa Aron, 1936. We open to the public the Corps B and C on May 28, 2018. We aim to complete the restoration of Corp A in 2019, and to open it to public in 2020. Until then, the conference room of the Corp B will function as galleries for temporary exhibitions.
The Muzeul Textilelor’s mission includes preserving, collecting, researching, and sharing the collection and other resources with specialists and the public. The focus of activities is to provide a global context for Romanian and East European textile materials and related technologies. Other objectives are to create a center for research and professional interaction among experts and young professionals from the national and international community; and to stimulate the appreciation of textiles as art.
The collection was put together over the past four decades with a passion for and commitment to textiles, and professional expertise, by Florica and Romulus Zaharia, and their daughter Ana Teodora Dragus. Florica Zaharia is a PhD in textiles and a Conservator Emerita of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she worked for nearly half of her life as textile conservator – thirteen years of which she was the Conservator in Charge of the Department of Textile Conservation. Romulus Nicolae Zaharia is a food industry engineer, with a passion for history and for collecting art dating from his early years. Ana Teodora Dragus is an animal science and biotechnology engineer, an active member of the community, and participant in forming the collection since her childhood.
Muzeul Textilelor, Building A – Baita, No.21, Hunedoara County.
Built in 1857 by the merchant Gheorghe Bartos, a founder of ASTRA, this was one of the most important buildings of Baita at the time. It is composed of seven rooms and a veranda on the main level, and six vaulted rooms on the half-ground level. During the Communist era, the house was partly a private residence and partly used for local commercial needs and occasionally for school.
The building needs restoration. The challenge will be to preserve all the original architectural detail of the house, yet create conditions appropriate for modern display.
At this point, after documenting everything, all additions made during the Communist era have been eliminated from the half-ground level. During the process, the original painted ceiling in one of the vaulted rooms was discovered.
After the restoration, the Museum Buiding A will be display areas for pieces from the Muzeul Textilelor’s collection. The currently gallery in Building B will become a conference room.
Muzeul Textilelor, Building B – Baița, no. 20, Hunedoara County.
Building of the former general store, with two levels.
Includes the conference room (until the restoration of the Location A, is it the gallery for temporary exhibitions), an Art Café, a lab for the conservation, restoration and scientific investigation of the collection, and administrative spaces.
Build in the sixties.
Muzeul Textilelor, Building C – Hartagani village, no. 434, Baita, Hunedoara County.
Tripon Petru, the man who dated the earlier constructions, was a carpenter. His craftsmanship is noticeable at various levels of these buildings. The Muzeul Textilelor collection includes two loom reed holders signed and dated by him, 1913 and 1914.
The farm was inherited by Petru’s daughter, Veta. She married Popa Aron. Together they built the summer house in 1936. One of their two sons, Popa Nicolae inherited the farm. After he died, his wife Victoria, and his brother’s children, Dorin and Elena, inherited the farm. The large barn was demolished, and the main house was earmarked to be transferred to another location. In 1998 Florica and Romulus Zaharia purchased the farm just in time to save the main house from demolition.
The farm compound is composed of following structures:
-Main house, signed and dated by Tripon Petru, 1902
-Summer house, signed and dated by Popa Aron, 1936
-Food storage house, signed and dated by Tripon Petru, 1912
-Small barn for sheep, pigs and birds
-Hay storage, stogaria
-Wool felting house, 19th century, acquired in 2005 from Bulzeștii de Sus village
This farm house, Muzeaul Textilelor Building C, is the place where textile production typical of the region will be available to be seen and researched in its traditional context.