Yiannis Moralis (Greek, 1916-2009) Couple, 1957 56 x 81.5 cm.
Lot 40AR
Yiannis Moralis
(Greek, 1916-2009)
Couple, 1957 56 x 81.5 cm.
£ 30,000 - 50,000
US$ 42,000 - 70,000

The Greek Sale

2 May 2018, 14:00 BST

London, New Bond Street

Lot Details
Yiannis Moralis (Greek, 1916-2009)
Couple, 1957
signed in Greek and dated '1/12/57' (lower right)
oil and egg tempera on hardboard
56 x 81.5 cm.

Footnotes

  • Painted in 1957.

    Provenance
    Private collection, Paris.

    Exhibited
    Venice, XXIX Biennale, 1958, Greek Pavilion, no. 560.

    Literature
    Sima magazine, no. 22, March 1979, p. 20 (illustrated).
    Zygos magazine, no. 60, July-August 1983, p. 19, referred (possibly).
    Yannis Moralis, Commercial Bank of Greece Group of Companies, Athens 1988, no. 105, p. 107 (illustrated).
    C. Christou, Moralis, Adam editions, Athens 1993, no. 58 (illustrated).


    Adhering to an inner rhythm dictated by the classical sense for human scale and echoing the timeless values of Greek art, this perfectly balanced composition of pure form, elegant line and harmonious proportion celebrates the erotic union of man and woman. In the 1950s, Moralis's figures, and especially his evocative female nudes, were gradually stripped of descriptive detail and handled in such an abstractive fashion that they took on a symbolical meaning, liberated from the burden of physical existence without losing their recognisable form. As noted by Athens National Gallery Director M. Marina Lambraki-Plaka, "around 1950, Moralis's thematic core began to emerge clearly. If Tsarouchis celebrated preadolescence and youth, Moralis sang of a girl's coming into sexual maturity. He then achieved the impossible: to assimilate volume within the outline, to translate an eloquent physicality into a luminescent form, without any shades, any tone modelling."1 One can almost trace the progress from the sensual aspects of the subject to the metaphysical and transcendental.

    Here, the shallow compositional depth, reminiscent of sculptural relief, and the austerity of the horizontal and vertical lines set up a geometric edifice from which the human forms emerge. The subtle palette, limited to warm siennas and ochres, evening-sky blues, reds, blacks and greys, and the well thought out spatial relationships, compose an intense yet harmonious whole, echoing the idealised images on a Doric metope and reviving an archetypal universe of timeless glory.

    1. M. Lambraki-Plaka, "Yannis Moralis, a 20th Century Classic" in Yannis Moralis - Christos Kapralos, Friendship in Life and Art, exhibition catalogue, Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, Athens 2016, p. 13.
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