Moralis Masterpiece Tops Bonhams Greek Sale in Paris

ParisPleine Lune I by Yiannis Moralis (1916-2009) was the top selling lot at Bonhams Greek sale in Paris today (18 May). Estimated at €300,000-€500,000, it sold for €639,125. The sale made a total of €2,836,163.

Bonhams Greek Art specialist, Anastasia Orfanidou, commented: "Pleine Lune I is a graceful reflection of the artist's long preoccupation with the inner rhythm and musical resonance generated by the daring combination of varied types, shapes and colours – true to his Greek heritage and yet utilising a formal vocabulary informed by modern sensitivity. It is an outstanding work and I am not surprised it sold for such an impressive sum."

Moralis was a member of the famous and highly influential '30s Generation of Greek painters. Works by other members of the group also performed strongly at the sale including:

L'Archéologue, painted in 1943 by Nikos Engonopoulos (1907-1985) combines the ancient past with modern-day elements to subvert the conventional ways in which rational thought perceives the world. Yet, as noted by the theatre director and playwright Alexis Solomos, what is astonishing is the prevailing Grecian spirit in his work. "Everything Engonopoulos touches becomes Greek". Sold for €176,775 (estimated €120,000-€180,000).
Hercule tue L'hydre de Lerne by Theofilos Hadjimichael (1871-1934). Sold for €176,775 (estimate €140,000-€200,000).
Cabines abandonnées by Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghykas (1906-1994), Sold for €94,875 (estimate: €60,000-€80,000).

Elsewhere in the sale, Les portes de Times Square, New York by Chryssa (Vardea) (1933-2013) sold for €315,335 (estimate: €80,000-€120,000) setting a new world auction record for a work by the artist. Chryssa, the first artist working in America to use emitted electric light, produced neon sculptures with majestic forms and oscillating letter-like patterns. Here, tightly grouped in a repetitive sequence and encased in a smoky-grey Plexiglas container, the curved red, yellow, green and blue neon tubes heighten the abstract qualities of the calligraphic elements, capturing the romantic imagery and inherent poetry of the modern metropolis. The work will be included in the exhibition Chryssa & New York organised by the Dia Art Foundation and the Menil Collection which will be shown in New York and Houston during 2023 and Chicago in 2024. Signal, 1978 by Takis (Panayiotis Vassilakis) (1925-2019) sold for €88,575 (estimate: €35,000-45,000).

The Greek Sale was a collaborative sale put together by Bonhams in London and its associates in Athens, Art Expertise. Terpsichore Angelopoulou director of Art Expertise in Athens commented: "We are very excited with yesterday's Greek Sale results and feel privileged we've been part of such a robust and flourishing art scene for over two decades. The record prices the sale fetched last evening reflect our ongoing efforts to promote the art of Modern Greece in the international art world."

19 May 2022

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