Saturday 5 November 2016

London Calling | The Bonhams Greek Sale

Saturday, November 5, 2016 - A plethora of international auction events is rushing into our calendar in London in November! The three most significant privately owned British auction houses have been organizing breathtaking events, presenting blue chip art, rare objects, spirits, and collectives of every kind. Among  them there is the Greek sale of November, 16  2016, starting at 14:00 GMT, at the New Bond Street. 

Erofili, a dramatic work by the Greek master painter Yiannis Tsarouchis, illustrating a scene from a 16th century Cretan tragedy, features in Bonhams Greek Art sale in London on 16 November. It is estimated at £70,000-100,000. One of the most important plays of Cretan literature, Erofili, by Georgios Hortatsis, tells the story of the daughter of King Philogonos – the Erofili of the title – who loves the brave general Panaretos. They marry in secret but the King finds out, brutally kills the bridegroom and presents his daughter with her lover's severed head and limbs in a golden bowl. In the words of the painter himself, "I painted the heroine of Hortatsis's tragedy when she sees the head, heart and hands of her beloved Panaretos. She is dressed in a neoclassical outfit which I took from a folk woodcut of the popular edition of Erotokritos depicting Aretousa. The work is strongly influenced by Byzantine and Oriental art." The sale also includes one of the largest and most beautiful still lives by Tsarouchis ever to be come to auction. Still life: Arum lilies and irises in a vase, a lemon and a belt, from an important Parisian collection, and estimated at £25,000-35,000, is dominated by genuineness of character and purity of form. As Tsarouchis once said, "Whether I paint men or flowers I must reveal the divine spirit that lies within them." The beautifully executed and poetically pure flowers and the vivacious yellow lemon placed next to them, which are in discreet and appealing contrast with the sensuality of the masculine military belt, harmoniously unify the composition into a captivating, convincing and yet unique work of art. Another Tsarouchis still life from the same collection Still life with pomegranates is also in the sale, estimated at £10,000-15,000. Tsarouchis' niece, Despina Politi, was one of the artist's favorite models. He painted her many times and one of these portraits is included in the sale, estimated at £18,000-25,000.

 "Riverbed" by Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas
Other highlights should include "Riverbed" by Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas, estimated €110,000 - 170,000. Hidden in a Parisian collection for many years, Riverbed is a highpoint of Ghika's mature style. Monumental in scale, magnificent in colour and bold in vision, this striking and beautifully executed composition shows the painter's unique expressive language. Riverbed aptly illustrates Ghika's mastery in creating his own rich visual and stylistic vocabulary; a harmoniously balanced universe that is highly influenced by the Cubists and connected to the light and landscapes of his country. The influence of Cézanne's treatment of landscape is evident within Ghika's fractured planes, and Braque in Ghika's spatial awareness in depicting multiple angles simultaneously. Although it retains the main aesthetic features and themes employed by Ghika throughout his career, in Riverbed there is a much freer rendering and painterliness particularly in the sky, which is more redolent of his mature style. Riverbed is a luxuriant work of explosive vibe, where leaves and water in are involved in a Dionysian ritual, illustrating Ghika's mystical connection to nature. 

Two unique works by the prominent sculptor Yerassimos Sklavos (Greece, 1927-1967), "Volcano"  and "Exelixis/Evolution" (estimated €44,000 - 67,000 each), Nikos Engonopoulos (Greece, 1910-1985) "Sur la Guerre d'Indépendance (Paysage Orphique)" oil on canvas painting (estimated €100,000 - 140,000), Theofilos Hadjimichael (Greece, 1871-1934) "The battle of Alexander the great with Mithridates/The Invasion of Alexander the Great in Persia" signed in Greek and dated '1927', inscribed on the upper and lower part natural pigments on cardboard, Yiannis Moralis (Greece, 1916-2009) "Reclining woman", 1977 (estimated €130,000 - 200,000), Constantinos Parthenis (Greece, 1878-1967) "Slope at Mount Hymettus" (estimated €€89,000 - 130,000).

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