Though the market for Greek art has shrunk considerably over the past few years on the back of the crisis, British auction house Bonhams seems to be withstanding the pressure and holding onto its market share.
The Greek Sale last Tuesday at the house’s Bond Street premises in London is ample proof as it managed to find buyers for 71 percent of the lots. Turnover came to 2.4 million euros, up from 1.9 million at last spring’s auction of Greek art.
The top lot of the auction was Yannis Tsarouchis’s (1910-1989) “Torso” – a piece that conveys “monumentality, permanence and sculpturesque clarity” – sold at 152,500 pounds (183,000 euros), or four times its original estimate.
The second piece that attracted the most interest was Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika’s (1906-1994) “City on a Hill,” a hymn to the geometry of the Greek landscape from the artist’s mature period in the 1960s, which fetched 146,500 pounds (175,800 euros).
The third best seller was the piece “Ulysses Brings Iphigenia, the Daughter of Agamemnon, to the High Priest Kalhas for Her to Be Sacrificed to the God Apollo” by Theofilos Hadjimichail (1867-1934), which was purchased for 134,500 pounds (161,000 euros).
Another piece by Tsarouchis, his marvelous “Erotokritos,” was the big surprise at the Greek Sale as it sold for eight times its original estimate, at 100,900 pounds (121,080 euros).
The list of the top five sellers ends with Hadjikyriakos-Ghika’s “Boat,” a piece that had been missing for decade and now belongs to the private collection of Stratis Eleftheriadis, also known as Teriade on Lesvos. It fetched 98,500 pounds (118,200 euros).
In Paris, meanwhile, the prestigious auction house Piasa held its own auction of Greek art in two installments in November.
The first was on November 18 and was a sale of furniture and sculpture by Philolaos (1923-2010), which fetched a total of 570,000 euros (including commission). The second was the Greek Art Sale, which was held on November 26 and saw the sale of 70 percent of the lots, brining a total of 117,000 euros.