CULTURE

Parthenis work on the block at Sotheby’s

“Face Lost in the Shadow of a Branch» is the poetic phrase that the artist gave to the charming portrait of a young woman with Greek characteristics, below an olive branch and with three swallows flying away, or perhaps ready to alight. This painting by Constantine Parthenis, from his artwork in the 1930s, will give rise to much discussion regarding its provenance when it appears at the Greek Sale on Tuesday, November 16, at Sotheby’s headquarters in New Bond Street in London. In the painting, the young girl’s enigmatic expression, one devoid of any emotion, recalls those ancient statues, the Kores. What is important is that the artist Constantine Parthenis chose this portrait to be exhibited with 55 others at the Venice Biennale in the year 1938. The work is from a private collection and will not be auctioned again. The auctioneer’s catalog notes the influence of Amedeo Modigliani, Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso, trends which the Greek artist encountered in Italy and France. For the Greek observer of this portrait, «Face Lost in the Shadow of a Branch» has something to say, as does Leonardo Da Vinci’s «Mona Lisa,» and it is that which gives the work its special value, with the delicate colors and light that shine out from Sotheby’s cover. The painting will be on sale along with a large work by Constantine Volanakis, «Admiring the Ships in a Greek Port,» from a private collection in Hungary, as well as «Hydra, Composition in White,» by Nikos Hadzikyriakos-Ghika, a portrait by Bouzianis, «Woman in a Hat,» and «Athena» by Spyros Vasileiou.