George ?tef?nescu-Râmnic's father, Gheorghe, a merchant, descended from a Macedonian family originating from Serbian Bitola. The name ?tef?nescu first belonged to artist’s great-grandfather, priest Stefan from Skopje.
Painter’s destiny was forged during his school-years spent at Râmnicul S?rat; then, between 1933 and his mobilization on the front, the advice he received from masters Ion Theodorescu-Sion, Lucian Grigorescu and especially Nicolae D?r?scu mattered a lot. The latter, a palette virtuoso able to display a whole scale of hot-and-cold floral colours, made George ?tef?nescu familiar with the secret of polychromy acquired patiently, by touch resuming, yet losing nothing of image luminosity.
The seisms of the mid 20th-century history directed ?tef?nescu towards plastic expressions with practical potentials: mural painting and decoration, advertising graphics, poster and especially scenography. His creation dedicated to theatre (1958–1974) re-adapted his sight to strong colours, as, for more than one decade, his perception had been harmed by the traumas endured in the Crimean campaign. Subsequently, the synthetic, ultra-suggestive manner of the graphic-pictorial sketches made for décors trained his interest for the poetic simili-figurative compositions whose folkloric approach used to conceal religious subjects – see the series of Minstrels or Flyers, which, resumed after 1990 in the free world, far from the local manoeuvres of the orthodox connivances, were turned into The Magi and Crucifixions after minimal interventions.
In Adriana Bobu’s monograph issued in 1987 at Meridiane Publ. House (Bucharest, Romania), the artist is approached in the key of a fauve, harmonically tamed expressionism. Without any ostentation, the painter captures from reality an extended cone of pretext stimuli, achieving a figuration stylized in arched-and-imbricated shapes resembling enamel compositions. An excellent example could be the canvas made in 1990: a whirl of tropical, strongly coloured birds developing an elaborate honest-figurative dynamics. More than any landscapist, ?tef?nescu-Râmnic imagines parabolic-woven figures (meditative themes, harlequins, folk customs, dances), sublimated in graphemes mastered in the realm of lyrical abstraction. On the other hand, his still-lifes or toponymic landscapes are abundant of pretexts for different families of ripen nuances and contour arabesques.
Secret of Blue is the title of the oil on canvas he achieved in 1983. But maybe even the red colour of old Balkan carpet stands for the sthenic leitmotif the painter had in mind. In the more recent series, showing a somehow thwarted abstract symbolism, the artist honours shape contours with a loosened-up warp background, while troubling sensually into the enamel depth of the painting.
Painter’s figure, seems meditative and concentrated in the remarkable self-portraits of the man born during the Great War, seriously wounded in the Second World War, yet surviving United Europe enactment. The longeval artist is a wonderful example of seigniorial senescence nourished by a destiny able to defeat evil times, that Sadness of Young Women from the middle of the 20th century. (Aurelia Mocanu)