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Ionel Talpazan (1955–2015)

Romanian outsider artist Ionel Talpazan died on September 21. Talpazan sold his works depicting UFOs and deep space on Manhattan’s sidewalks before being discovered in the late 1980s, according to William Grimes in the New York Times.

Aarne Anton, his dealer at the American Primitive Gallery in SoHo, confirmed his death.

“His paintings, drawings, and sculptures dealt, obsessively, with U.F.O.s and their inner workings, often shown in cross section and heavily annotated in Romanian,” writes Grimes. Talpazan first reported encountering “a blue energy”—a UFO descending from the sky—when he was eight.

For years, he sold work on the sidewalk, a recognizable face near the entry of the annual Outsider Art Fair. Later, art dealer Henry Tobler saw him selling work outside the Museum of Modern Art and wrote about him in 1990 in Folk Art Messenger.

His work was eventually shown at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco; the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin; and at the Musée d’Art Brut in Neuilly-sur-Marne, France. A 2013 exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in London, “The Alternative Guide to the Universe,” also featured his art.

“My art shows spiritual technology, something beautiful and beyond human imagination, that comes from another galaxy,” he said in an interview.