Greek art goes under the hammer

Sotheby’s «Greek Sale,» expected to take place tomorrow at the auction house’s premises in London, is the third consecutive specialized sale on Greek art from the 19th and 20th century that Sotheby’s has held so far. (It is also the first time that no preview of the works has been held in Greece.) The success of the two former sales (according to Sotheby’s, the previous sales’ proceeds came to a total of 2.3 million pounds) seems to be turning the Greek Sale into a regular, established event at Sotheby’s. More than 150 works will be offered for sale at the upcoming auction. Highlights include «Festival in Megara,» a genre painting by late 19th century painter Nikiforos Lytras, estimated at 400,000-600,000 pounds. There are also four paintings by the great 19th century maritime painter Constantinos Volanakis. These include «Bringing in the Catch» an early painting that Volanakis made while still studying in Munich (estimated at 100,000-150,000 pounds). Another great 19th century painter, Giorgos Iakovidis, who is known for his psychologically vivid portraiture, is represented by a typical work of his, the portrait of a young girl, estimated at 50,000-70,000 pounds. The Greek Sale also includes some of the most celebrated names in 20th century Greek art. Two paintings by Nikos Hadzikyriakos-Ghika capture the style of this Thirties Generation artist, his interest in cubism and the rendering of space as well as in Greek landscape and mythology. (One of his works is estimated at 60,000-100,000 pounds.) There are also works by the late Alexis Akrithakis, Alekos Fasianos, Takis and Pavlos. Going further back in time, works by Pericles Pantazis, Giorgos Bouzianis, Dimitris Galanis, Constantinos Maleas, Michalis Economou and Theodoros Rallis make up a list of some of the most reputable names of Greek art, and those that, moreover, recur in most sales of Greek art. Also included in the auction will be works by the philhellene painters Denis Dighton and Edward Lear. Dighton’s «Battle of Kleisoura,» which depicts the Greek struggle for independence and was painted in 1823, is considered one of the sale’s treasures and is estimated at 220,000-300,000 pounds. (For information, contact the telephone number 5704.)