Works by Greek artists from the 1930s dominated Bonhams‘ recent Greek Art auction in London, with the sale making more than £1.3m to demonstrate that demand for art from Greece continues.
The 1930s Generation, so-called because that was the decade in which the artists rose to prominence, proved particularly popular with buyers. Two paintings by Nikos Engonopoulos (1910-1985) greatly exceeded their pre-sale estimates. The hunter and the watchmaker‘s (right) estimate of £30,000 rose to sell for £74,500, and The poet Solomos (estimate of £20,000-30,000) made £60,000.
However, Winter (left) by Yiannis Tsarouchis (1910-1989) was the sale’s leading lot making £146,500. Painted in Paris in 1968 it forms part of the Four Seasons collection and the imposing male figure at the centre of the canvas stands as a symbol of the modern Greek spirit – a constant theme in Tsarouchis’s work. His charming rendition of his niece, Portrait of Despina wearing a rose dress, shows the artist matching his technical perfection as a draughtsman with his talent for revealing the essence of his sitters. The painting was estimated at £20,000, but went on to sell for £64,900.
Works by a third member of the ‘30s’ Generation, Nikos Ghika (1906-1994) were also in demand. Morning Mountain View made £74,500 and Balcony with Griffons was sold for £47,500.
Paintings from an earlier era also fared well, with Children’s Symphony by Georgios Jakobides (1852-1932) selling for £47,500, while Agenor Asteriadis’s The Country Fair made £43,750.
Bonhams Greek Art specialist Olympia Papas said, “This was a high quality sale with paintings from all the major eras of Greek art attracting keen interest. Many works met or exceeded their upper estimates and it was encouraging to see a wide range of bidders not only from the Greek speaking world but from other countries too.”