Sotheby’s Greek Sale fetches new records for art

The Greek Sale at Sotheby’s held in London on November 15 produced a number of exciting records. Not only did Nikiforos Lytras’s «Giorti sta Megara» (Festival in Megara) turn out to be the most expensive Greek painting ever sold at auction, but record prices were garnered by works by Nikolaos Gyzis, Constantinos Parthenis, Nikos Engonopoulos, Theofilos and Yiannis Spyropoulos, among others. A study published in Kathimerini recently highlighted that Greek sales organized by major auction houses have turned the local market for works of art into one of the fastest growing internationally, along with the Russian, Chinese and Indian markets and the new records set in London last week show exactly that. Lytras’s painting, sold to a buyer who wished to remain anonymous for 1,138,396 euros, broke three different records: It became the most expensive work to be sold at a Greek Sale (surpassing yet another Lytras painting sold at a Sotheby’s sale last year for 1,082,215 euros), a record for a 19th century Greek artist and a record for the artist. The sale, with total revenues of 7.3 million euros, set a whole new record as well. It should be pointed out that the record-breaking «Festival in Megara» had previously gone under the hammer by the same auctioneers, but went unsold. «The fact that in the last three years so much has changed means that the Greek market is entering a more mature phase,» Constantinos Frangos, of Sotheby’s Greece, told Kathimerini. «A number of new buyers from various countries have now entered the game. At last week’s sale works were sold to Germany, for instance, without us being able to determine whether the buyers were German or Greeks living in that country. These kinds of sales might well attract foreign investors in the future,» he added. On the subject of the sale’s overall success, during which 97 of the 126 lots were sold, Frangos noted that all the works were of high quality. Following the Lytras masterpiece, Nikolaos Gyzis’s «I nea afixi» (The New Arrival: The Birth of Telemachos Gyzis) reached a record-breaking level for the artist at auction at 906,457 euros. The same was true of the third-highest sale, Constantinos Parthenis’s «Nekri fisi brosta stin Acropoli» (Still Life Before the Acropolis), which sold for 674,517 euros. Another work by Gyzis, «O pappous prosferei mila sto engoni tou» (Grandfather Offering Apples to his Grandchild) reached 591,682 euros, while Nikos Hadzikyriakos-Ghikas’s «Greco-Roman» went for 525,413 euros, also setting a new record for the artist at auction.

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