Sotheby’s ‘Greek Sale’ preview

Works of Greek 19th- and 20th-century modern art have acquired a distinct standing in the international art market. «For the past 10 years, Greek art has picked up a lot among international and Greek collectors. There is a lot of demand for quality works of the period,» says Constantine Frangos, vice president of Sotheby’s 19th-century art department. This demand is the reason Sotheby’s auctioneers are holding a «Greek Sale» for the second consecutive year, prompted by the successful sale of Greek paintings in the «Greece and the Middle East» auction in 2000 (it was mostly on orientalist works). The Greek Sale will be held in London on October 4 and a public viewing of the works is planned for today and tomorrow at the Zappas hall in Aigli (viewing hours 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.). The display is organized in collaboration with Athens Citigroup Private Bank. The display includes some rare works and is noteworthy for putting some works on public view for the first time. An outstanding example is Nikolaos Gyzis’s «Mourning in the Forester’s Cottage,» a painting that was bought by an Italian art collector in 1882, the same year that the painting received an award in Nuremberg. The work was exhibited only twice, in 1881 and 1882 in Vienna and Munich. Its current estimate is 150,000-200,000 pounds. «The Evening Prayer» by Nikolaos Kounelakis, one of the artist’s most important works to ever appear in an auction (his works rarely emerge in auctions), is another highlight. Kounelakis, who trained in Russia and lived in Italy, painted mostly portraits of children. Also appraised as an important painting is «Hauling in the Catch» by Constantinos Volanakis, a painting that belonged to a British art collection and is estimated at 70-90,000 pounds. Twentieth-century works include paintings by some of the most famous names of the so-called Thirties Generation artists. Among them Nikos Hadzikyriakos-Ghikas, Yiannis Moralis (one of his paintings was sold for the highest price at last year’s Greek Sale) and Spyros Vassileiou. What binds the works together is that they are all by artists whose works are established in the art market. This ensures their commercial success but also helps inspect their authenticity; the more a painter is known, the more likely it is that his work has been documented. «Greek art is a tricky field; this is why we keep our sales small and tight. If we have any doubts about a painting, we do not put it up for sale,» says Frangos.

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