Born in Craiova, Toma Stelian studied law in Bucharest, then continued his education in Paris, specializing in law and political science. In the period 1885-1887, he worked as a magistrate in Iasi, and from 1887 he became a member of the Bar. The Cimara and Mayer Goldstein trials were among the most notorious during that time.
From 1885 and for 12 years, he was a professor of commercial law at the University of Iasi, and his course was appreciated by both students and other lawyers. In 1895, he was elected to Parliament for the first time, at which time he moved to Bucharest. He continued to build his university career in Bucharest, teaching until 1925.
In 1907, he was appointed Minister of Justice, and between 1917 and 1919, he had the role of president of the parliamentary mission of the Romanian National Council in Paris.
The building, built between 1912 and 1915, is a one-story villa with mezzanine, elegant and richly decorated staterooms. The walls of the library are fully clad in solid wood with an elegantly carved gallery, the coffered ceiling is also made of wood. The staircase and hall of honor are in marble and stucco-marble.
Toma Stelian wanted the villa to be transformed into a museum, and in 1931, it became the core of the current National Art Museum. The museum's collection included 570 works of painting and 57 works of Romanian sculpture, some signed by renowned artists such as Ioan Andreescu, Ștefan Luchian or Gheorghe Petrașcu.
In 1949, the museum's collection entered the heritage of the Art Museum of RPR, and the building was used between 1950-1977 as the headquarters of the Writers' Union.
Following the earthquake of 1977, Toma Stelian's house was badly damaged. It was consolidated, but the main facade was simplified, losing some of its decorations.
Since 1996, the building has been the headquarters of the Social Democratic Party.