Georgios Bouzianis (Greek, 1885-1959) Lady S. 86 x 67 cm.
Lot 43AR
Georgios Bouzianis (Greek, 1885-1959) Lady S. 86 x 67 cm.
Sold for £51,650 (US$ 80,822) inc. premium

Lot Details
Georgios Bouzianis (Greek, 1885-1959)
Lady S.
signed Jo Buzianis (upper right); signed also (on the stretcher)
oil on canvas
86 x 67 cm.

Footnotes

  • Bearing a handwritten label with the title on the reverse.

    PROVENANCE:
    Private collection, Athens.

    EXHIBITED:
    Venice, XXV Biennale Internazionale d'Arte di Venezia, 1950 (illustrated in the exhibition catalogue, p. 331, no 5).


    One of the ten oils selected by the artist to showcase his unique artistic vision in the 1950 Venice Biennale, this quintessential Bouzianis achieves an expressive mastery of style and form comparable to the best postwar abstract painting, recalling -or even foreshadowing- de Kooning's famous paintings of female torsos. Impetuous brushwork, free sweeping gestures, sensuous colour, forceful treatment of form and pulsating spread of paint conspire to create a powerful image, which is both a reflection of the sitter's inner life and the artist's intense response to the subject. The facial characteristics are intentionally distorted and the body contorted, while the surrounding space acquires a material quality craving to devour the human figure.

    Dominating the maelstrom of paint from which she emerged, Lady S is full of strong feeling, disciplined by artistic intelligence and subordinated to aesthetic demands. "The intensity in Bouzianis's work does not derive from the expressiveness of faces and bodies, a fact that differentiates him from the mainstream of German Expressionism. His figures are emotionless, showing no expressive facial contortions. The expressive thrust of his paintings relies exclusively on pictorial means."1 Moreover, by filling the picture plane with her corporeal presence and statuesque calm, Bouzianis's woman generates a tension between bodily volume and pictorial space This tension is akin to Picasso's 'classic phase', during which the artist's predilection for plastic volumes in the treatment of human form was revived by his exposure to Greco-Roman sculpture. As noted by Y. Tsarouchis, "there is something classical in the works of Bouzianis, because for a Greek the classical is a natural state of mind."2 Moreover, the frontality of the portrait, set against a barren background, is akin to the perception governing Byzantine icon painting, endowing it with symbolic dimension and spiritual content as if it were the image of a modern saint.

    A master of psychological interpretation, a true visionary and a great painter of the female figure, Bouzianis is without a doubt an artist of international calibre. "It is widely acknowledged by those who search for some deeper meaning in art that Bouzianis's work -with the questions it raises, the roads it opens and the influence it is capable of exerting- always remains in the vanguard of great European art."3 As noted by Y. Tsarouchis, "Bouzianis's key contribution is that he focuses on what he has to say rather than on what may impress the average layman."4

    1. C. Botsoglou, Reflections on the Work of G. Bouzianis - A Confession [in Greek], Anti journal, no.302, 25.10.1985.
    2. Y. Tsarouchis, preface to Bouzianis-Watercolours [in Greek], Agra-The Friends of Bouzianis, Athens 1982, p. 12.
    3. G. Mourelos, The Metamorphoses in the Painting of Bouzianis, Zygos Annual Edition of the Hellenic Fine Arts, vol.2, Athens 1983, p. 21.
    4. Y. Tsarouchis, Greek Painters [in Greek], Kastaniotis, Athens 2003, p. 109.
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