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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Nicholaos Gysis Painting to Lead Sotheby’s Greek Sale in London

Sotheby’s announced that one of the key highlights of its autumn Greek Sale in London – which is scheduled to take place on Monday, November 9, 2009 – will be a recently re-discovered work by Nicholaos Gysis, an artist considered by many as the father of Greek 19th-century painting.

Nicholaos Gysis, The Fortune Teller, oil on canvas, estimate: €230,000-350,000. Photo: Sotheby’s

Entitled The Fortune Teller, the major work represents a very exciting re-discovery in Gysis’ oeuvre given that its whereabouts has remained unknown for many decades; it has been part of the same American collection for almost half a century. The forthcoming sale will be the painting’s first-ever appearance at auction and it will be offered for sale with an estimate of £200,000-300,000 / €230,000-350,000.

A quintessentially Greek image, the present work was painted in Munich in the 1880s, a time when Gysis produced some of his most celebrated works, including The Secret School, now in the Emfietzoglou Collection, and To Tama and Kou-Kou, which are both today in the collection of the National Gallery – Alexandros Soutzos Museum in Athens. Gysis was renowned for celebrating daily life in Greece and the uniqueness of Greek manners and customs. In The Fortune Teller, he captures a maiden turning her blushing face away from an elderly fortune teller, as her young companions encircle her, observing and laughing. The warm and light-hearted scene encourages the viewer to step closer and join in the merriment. The painting’s palette of rich earth tones, crisp whites, yellows and deep blue accompanies the artist’s pre-occupation with light and draughtsmanship.

Talking about the painting, Constantine Frangos, Senior Director and Head of Greek Art at Sotheby’s, said: “This painting represents a very exciting re-discovery in the work of Gysis and we’re thrilled to be bringing it to the international market this autumn. Having been created in Germany and then hidden away in an American collection for almost half a century, the forthcoming sale offers an exciting opportunity for collectors and institutions to acquire a very quintessential work by the artist.”