Dr Ada Hajdu. In Memoriam

We are heartbroken to announce that Ada Hajdu, Principal Investigator of our project, passed away on 13 July 2020 after a brief illness. Her family and friends, as well as academic communities in Romania and beyond, are in deep shock. Ada Hajdu was an outstanding scholar and a fine friend and mentor. Her generosity and dedication changed many lives and those who knew her will remember her warm and supportive nature that complemented her intelligence and talent as a scholar. She personally guided and advised two of the project members through their university studies, with impressive dedication and support. They, like many others, will always be grateful for her constant encouragement and collaboration over the years. We, the remaining members of the ERC project ‘Art Historiographies in Central and Eastern Europe. An Inquiry from the Perspective of Entangled Histories’, are left deeply shaken and wish to take this opportunity to offer our condolences to her family, close friends and colleagues.

Ada Hajdu (1978, Târgu Mureș – 2020, Bucharest) was a mentor for many generations of students, a prolific scholar and a core member of the National University of Arts in Bucharest. She published two important books Architecture and National Project. The Romanian National Style, (NOI Media Print, Bucharest, 2009) and Art Nouveau in Romania, (NOI Media Print, Bucharest 2008, second edition 2013), as well as ground-breaking articles in the field of modern architecture in Central and Eastern Europe. These included: “The Search for the National Architectural Styles in Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria from the Mid-Nineteenth Century to Word War I”, in Entangled Histories of the Balkans, vol. IV, R. Daskalov, D. Mishkova, T. Marinov, A. Vezenkov (eds.), (Brill, Leiden, 2017), pp. 394-439; “The Pavilions of Greece, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris”, in Balkan Heritages. Negotiating History and Culture, Maria Couroucli, Tchavdar Marinov (eds.), (Ashgate/ Routledge, Farnham, 2015), pp. 47-77; and “The urban development of Herculane health resort in the nineteenth century and the architecture of its spa establishments”, in Spicilegium. Studii în onoarea Corinei Popa, Vlad Bedros, Marina Sabados (eds.), (UNArte, Bucharest, 2015), pp. 219-233 (in Romanian). Ada Hajdu also published many other book chapters, articles, reviews, translations and essays. She was a constant presence at international conferences and a keen organiser of academic activities. She taught widely in the fields of modern art, nationalism, art and politics, art theory and methodologies. A rich and meaningful career was moreover recognised by the winning of the major European Research Council Starting Grant for the project ‘Art Historiographies in Central and Eastern Europe. An Inquiry from the Perspective of Entangled Histories’ (2018-2023) of which she was the Principal Investigator. In recent years she worked tirelessly both to teach and guide her students and on the present research project, for which she envisaged the publication of several books and academic articles.

Besides her academic achievements and inspiring thoughts and writings, Ada Hajdu was a true friend for all with whom she worked, her warmth and kindness matching the tireless devotion she invested in both her teaching and scholarly activities. She was a constant supporter of students and young scholars, always ready to share her research and to help others develop their own projects. As a professor, colleague and art historian she was a model of diligence and perseverance and she never allowed her friends to give up on their ideas. Her enlivening spirit was at the core of ‘Art Historiographies in Central and Eastern Europe. An Inquiry from the Perspective of Entangled Histories’. We will concentrate all our efforts on continuing her pioneering work, following the guiding principles that she established during the first years of our collaboration as a team.

The tragedy of Ada Hajdu’s passing will profoundly impact the course and shape of the present project. We are consulting with the European Research Council and will provide more details in due course.

On 15 July 2020, Ada Hajdu was posthumously decorated with the Order of Cultural Merit by President Klaus Iohannis of Romania.