Analatos signed in Greek (lower right) oil on card 28 x 48 cm.
Painted c. 1918-1920.
PROVENANCE: D. Lambrinopoulos collection, Athens. Private collection, Athens.
EXHIBITED: Athens, Beaches of Attica, 1920 (possibly). Athens, National Gallery and Alexander Soutzos Museum, Maleas Retrospective, 1980, no 89.
LITERATURE: Stelios Lydakis, The Greek Painters - Dictionary, Melissa Publications, Athens 1976, p. 241 (illustrated). Antonis Kotidis, The Painter C. Maleas, doctoral dissertation, Thessaloniki 1982, pp. 128-129 (referred), fig 5.35 (illustrated). Antonis Kotidis, Maleas, Adam Editions, Athens 2000, p. 156-157 (illustrated).
A strikingly beautiful painting featured prominently in a two-page spread in Maleas' essential monograph by A. Kotidis, Analatos perfectly justifies the artist's reputation as the quintessential master of the Greek landscape. Using richly layered, dynamic brushwork and strong colours, Maleas painted the coastal stretch by focusing on nature's colours, shapes, patterns and textures as integral elements to his pictorial arrangement. His artistry created a dynamic tension between nature and abstraction, between surface pattern and depth, which is akin to the teachings of Cezanne who exhorted painters to look for solidity and treat their subjects in terms of primary geometric forms to discover their enduring character and essential content.
Following in the steps of the modern French master, Maleas wished to show the natural environment not only as coloured patterns of light that would have satisfied an impressionist eye, but also to communicate his perception of their volume, mass and structure. (Compare N. Lytras, Landscape, lot 28, painted around the same time.) Similarly, he endeavoured to transcend impressionism in the rendering of space, suggesting recession into depth not by diminution of tonal contrast but through arrangement of form in a sequence of planes. While painting the landscape in front of him with complete directness, Maleas did so with a deeply layered understanding of the landscape as a complex entity, entrusting his subject to the truth of vision and venturing to penetrate into its inner world, become part of its reality and then recompose it with freedom, creativity and paganistic fervour. Instead of merely depicting a landscape, this restless, expressionistic work conveys the impression that we are witnessing the process of its birth.
Relying on purely painterly means rather than resorting to the exotic or the picturesque, the artist conveys his emotional response to the landscape, translating an austere stretch of land surrendered to the glaring light and luminous shimmer of the atmosphere, into a powerful visual language of form and colour. One of the finest examples of Maleas' art, which may have been included in his 'Attic Seashore' exhibition at the Zappeion Hall in March 1920, Analatos is discussed by A. Kotidis as follows: "The painting has an overall curvilinear design, while the arrangement of the various forms is handled also in a curvilinear manner, particularly in the ground or in the large chromatic zones representing the sea or the background land. The distant forms are as lucid and vivid as the ones in the foreground. The intense colour juxtapositions are matched by contrasts in the organization of the pictorial field. As a result, contrary to the rich layers of paint in the background, the surfaces closer to the viewer are coated with a single layer, while certain spots are left unpainted. This 'play with the support' that leaves some areas of the card raw -a well known Nabis trait, can be seen as a lingering formal element that always fascinated the Greek painter. Together with Coast, Seashore landscape (private collection) and Seashore landscape (National Gallery, Athens), Analatos represents one of the most expressively intense moments in Maleas' artistic career." 1
1. A. Kotidis, Constantinos Maleas [in Greek], Adam publ., Athens 2000, p. 152. See also A. Kotidis, The Painter C. Maleas [in Greek], doctoral dissertation, Thessaloniki 1982, pp. 128-129 and F. Politis, "Review of Maleas' one-man show at Zappeion Hall", Politeia daily, 2.4.1920.