Sotheby’s Greek Sale Realizes £2.7 Million

Sotheby’s third Greek sale on Tuesday, November 18, 2003 provided a clear indication of the growing demand for Greek 19th and 20th century paintings. The sale saw strong competition across the board, with fierce bidding driving prices above the pre-sale estimate in many instances. The sale realised £2,690,920 ($3,870,333), the highest total ever for a Greek sale at Sotheby’s.

Specialists in charge of the sale, Constantine Frangos and Tessa Kostrzewa, said: “We were thrilled with the results of today’s sale, and we are delighted to see such strong international demand for Greek art. We were disappointed that a major work by Nikiforos Lytras – A Festival in Megara – failed to sell, but despite that, the prices achieved by other works in the sale were strong and consistent.” nbsp;

Among the highlights of the sale was Denis Dighton’s dramatic representation of a moment in the Greek war of Independence, Greeks and Turks – The Battle of Klissura, Epirius, 1792, which sold for £252,000, establishing a new record for the artist’s work at auction.

Records were also broken for works by Nicos Hadjikiriakos Ghika, Demitrius Emmanuel Galanis, and Gerasimos Steris. Ghika’s cubist masterpiece Interior with Still Life (lot 36) made £78,000 (est: £40,000-£60,000), handsomely exceeding the existing record of £59,400, which was previously established at Sotheby’s in London in 1987. Equally Galanis’ Scene de Cabaret (lot 37) shattered the existing record of £36,000 (for Paysage au Rocher, sold in 2002) when it sold for £60,000. From the collection of Regina Lippe, six paintings by the elusive – and in many ways mysterious – artist Gerasimos Steris performed particularly well. The first of the works in the group, Galatea (lot 38) exceeded all expectations when it sold for £40,800, handsomely exceeding its pre-sale estimate of £18,000-£25,000 and easily outstripping the existing auction record for the artist (£5,400 established at Sotheby’s in London in 2001).

Particularly strong results were achieved for works by Constantinos Volanakis. Estimated at £100,000-£150,000, Admiring the Ships (lot 10) sold for £263,200. Meanwhile, Bringing in the Catch, an important early work painted while Volonakis was studying in Munich, made £207,200, also against an estimate of £100,000-£150,000. Another work by Volonakis, The Disembarkation made £162,400 against an estimate of £100,000-£150,000.

A number of other works exceeded their pre-sale estimates by multiple factors. Among these was Nicholas Gysis’ Portrait of an old man drinking (lot 11) which made £45,600 against an estimate of £8,000-£12,000. An important work by Yiannis Tsarouchis, The Port of Pireaus from the House of Gioni (lot 23) also perfomed well, fetching £69,600 against an estimate of £30,000-£40,000. Equally, A Garden (lot 32) by Nicos Hadjuikiriakos Ghika, made almost twice its pre-sale top estimate when it sold for £22,800.

There was strong demand, too, for works by Theodoros Rallis (whose Praying in a Greek Church, lot 5, made £78,000), Michalis Economou (whose House with Tree, lot 31, made £48,000 against an estimate of £25,000-£35,000.), Alecos Fassianos, Nikos Engonopoulos, Angelos Gialliana and Georgious Gounaropoulos.

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Published in: on November 21, 2003 at 1:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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