Works by artists of the 1930s Generation, named after the decade in which they came to prominence, dominated Bonhams Greek Art sale in London yesterday, 26 April. The sale made more than £1,300,000/€1,680,000, demonstrating that demand for Greek art continues to be strong despite the country’s recent economic difficulties.
Two paintings by Nikos Engonopoulos (1910-1985) greatly exceeded their pre-sale estimates. The hunter and the watchmaker (£30,000-40,000/€39,000-52,000) sold for £74,500/€95,000 and The poet Solomos (£20,000-30,000/€26,000-39,000) made £60,000/€77,000.
Winter by Yiannis Tsarouchis (1910-1989) was the leading lot making £146,500/€190,000. Painted in Paris in 1968 it forms part of the Four Seasons collection and the imposing male figure at the center 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 draftsman with his talent for revealing the essence of his sitters. The painting has been estimated at £20,000-30,000/€26,000-39,000) but went on to sell for £64,900/€84,000.
Works by a third member of the ’30s’ Generation, Nikos Ghika (1906-1994) were also in demand. Morning Mountain View made £74,500/€95,000 and Balcony with Griffons was sold for £47,500/61,000.
Paintings from an earlier era – Children’s Symphony by Georgios Jakobides (1852-1932) sold for 47,500/€61,000 and Agenor Asteriadis’s delightful The Country Fair made £43,750/€56,000.
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.”