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This is Marcel Janco

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By Gwylym Owen

Marcel Janco (German: [maʁˈsɛl ˈjaŋkoː], French: [maʁsɛl ʒɑ̃ko]; common rendition of the Romanian name Marcel Hermann Iancu[marˈtʃel ˈherman ˈjaŋku]; 24 May 1895 – 21 April 1984) was a Romanian and Israeli visual artist, architect and art theorist. He was the co-inventor of Dadaism and a leading exponent of Constructivism in Eastern Europe. In the 1910s, he co-edited, with Ion Vinea and Tristan Tzara, the Romanian art magazine Simbolul. Janco was a practitioner of Art Nouveau, Futurism and Expressionism past contributing his painting and stage design to Tzara’s university Dadaism. He parted bearing in mind Dada in 1919, when he and painter Hans Arp founded a Constructivist circle, Das Neue Leben.

Reunited when Vinea, he founded Contimporanul, the influential tribune of the Romanian avant-garde, advocating a fusion of Constructivism, Futurism and Cubism. At Contimporanul, Janco expounded a “revolutionary” vision of urban planning. He designed some of the most avant-garde landmarks of downtown Bucharest. He worked in many art forms, including illustration, sculpture and oil painting.

Janco was one of the leading Romanian Jewish intellectuals of his generation. Targeted by antisemitic persecution previously and during World War II, he emigrated to the British Mandate for Palestine in 1941. He won the Dizengoff Prize and Israel Prize, and was a founder of Ein Hod, a utopian art colony.

Marcel Janco was the brother of Georges and Jules Janco, who were his artistic associates during and after the Dada episode. His brother-in-law and fellow Constructivist advocate was the writer Jacques G. Costin, known as a survivor of 1940s antisemitism.

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