London sales bring Greek art to international attention

The demand for Greek art of the late 19th and early 20th centuries still seems to be still strong judging from the two separate «Greek sales» organized by Bonham’s and Sotheby’s in London next week. As with previous sales, the auctions will present works by some of the great names in Greek art. Among the highlights in the Sotheby’s sale are «The Burning of a Turkish Frigate» by Constantinos Volanakis (estimate 287,000-430,000 euros), the foremost marine painter of the 19th century. Constantinos Parthenis, a pioneer of modern art in Greece, is represented by eight paintings, most of different stylistic periods. One of them is a double-faced painting (estimated at 28,700-43,000 euros) that depicts «Trees by the Shore» on one side and a preparatory drawing for «The Harbor of Kalamata,» a painting that belongs to the National Gallery collection, on the other. «Allegory of Spring» is another of his paintings (estimated at 101,000-144,000 euros). The Sotheby’s sale will also include works by Spyros Papaloukas and three paintings by the surrealist painter Nikos Engonopoulos. Also available will be a selection of contemporary artworks by such artists as Pavlos, Yiannis Kottis, Alekos Fasianos and Chronis Botsoglou. A few days later, Bonham’s will hold its own Greek sale (in cooperation with the Athens-based Art Expertise). Many of the works on sale are by the same artists who are also represented at the Sotheby’s auction, but there will also be works by foreign artists depicting Greek themes. Among the 200 works to be auctioned, one will find a painting by Constantinos Parthenis which will reportedly be presented to the public for the first time. It depicts an allegorical figure of «Labor» and was painted in 1939. It is the painting with the highest estimate in the Bonham’s auction (210,000 euros). The auction will also make available «The Zappeio Festival,» a painting by Spyros Vassileiou that was first presented at the 1934 Venice Biennale (est. 17,200-25,700 euros). A preview of the works to be auctioned by Bonham’s in London will be held at the Epistrofi gallery (6-8 Taki, Psyrri) in Athens from May 10-12. The auction is scheduled for May 24. The Sotheby’s sale will be held May 12 (information at Hill & Knowlton, 210.628.1800). Late 19th and early 20th century Greek art is also the domain of a third auction to be held this month, this time in Athens and by the Greek auction house of Petros A. Vergos. Nikolaos Gyzis, Thodoros Rallis, Constantinos Maleas and Constantinos Parthenis are some of the names included in the sale. The auction will be held at the Hotel Grande Bretagne on May 16. A preview is scheduled from May 9-11 at Technopolis (100 Pireos, Gazi).