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Bonhams Next Greek Art Sale Boosts Interest In American-Greek Artists

The next Bonhams sale of Greek Art on 20 May in New Bond Street has a strong showing by Greek artists with American interests or connections.

These artists had links with a variety of key US artists and galleries and museums including Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, the legendary New York gallery of Leo Castelli, and the Guggenheim museum in New York.

AMERICAN-GREEK links include:

Theodoros Stamos, of the legendary New York school of the late 1950’s, a member of the Irrascibles with Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, one of the founders of the post war International Abstraction movement. In the 1970s, Stamos felt the need to detach himself from the competitive New York art scene, of which he was a prominent member, and try to redefine his life and work. In the process he returned to his native roots, to the Greek island of Lefkada, where his father was born. There, surrounded by the basic earth realities of sea, land and sky, he sought the means for his creative renewal. The result was a body of magnificent compositions to which he gave the collective title Infinity field-Lefkada series. “Their utter simplicity intrigued me” noted the art critic T. Wolff. “They revealed a mastery of colour and a quiet elegance not present to such a degree in his work before. These works are among the most quietly elegant and elegiac paintings of recent art history, truly classical in the deepest and truest sense.”

Nassos Daphnis, was a pioneer of post war geometrical structure. A pioneer of international post-war geometric abstraction and a leading Greek-American artist, N. Daphnis has always been a passionate and prolific inventor of challenging forms. Using innovative, post-industrial materials, such as epoxy or enamel paint, and based on advanced colour theories, he reaches an ultimate purity of execution in bold compositions infused with consistent energy and pulsating vitality. Circular variations and optical flickers in well thought out and controlled relationships make E.M.E. # 1-94 a powerful and cogent minimalist statement. The painting derives from the ‘shrine’ of postwar modernism, the legendary New York gallery of Leo Castelli (1907-1999), whom Daphnis met in 1958 and became close friends with.

Jean Xceron, a Greek born artist and the vital force in the Abstraction movement whose works are in the Guggenheim Collection. One of the very few abstract artists working in the United States who acquired international reputation before the arrival of the great wave of exiled Europeans in the late 1930s, the Greek-born Jean Xceron produced images of quiet perfection and rare poetry. Prefacing the artist’s 1965 exhibition at the Guggenheim in New York, the museum’s Director T.M. Messer noted: “In the United States, Xceron’s adopted home, the artist was a daring pioneer before he earned for himself the esteem and admiration accorded to old masters.”
Aktis # 388 is a delicate and vibrant, structured but instinctive and playful, intricate and intense yet pure and utterly poetic, Aktis # 388 perfectly illustrates A. Procopiou’s perceptive review of the artist’s oeuvre: “His compositions recall the geometric abstractions of Mondrian set against New York’s night skyline. Quadrangles, squares and semicircles are playfully entangled with glowing colours in a poetic work that adheres to the rules of Pythagorean geometry. These compositions are almost pure mathematics, the formulas of which Xceron expresses with the precision, logical discipline and composure of a true Greek rationalist.”

Alecos Condopoulos, one of Greece’s most important abstract artists who has shown his works in galleries in Miami and New York in the 1960s.

Besides the American presence in this sale there are three outstanding works which are likely to make new records for Greek art and to raise its profile further as good artistic investments are featured in the next Bonhams sale of Greek Art. Terpsichore Angelopoulou, of Art Expertise, Bonhams consultancy in Athens says the next Greek Art sale in London features three particularly strong paintings. These are:

Théodore Jacques Ralli(1852-1909), Praying before the Communion – £250,000 to £400,000.

Theofilos Hadjimichail (1867-1934), Karaiskakis Camp in Pireaus £100,000 to £150,000.

Pericles Pantazis (1849-1884), Mauvaise recette – £250,000 to £350,000.