View of Mesohora, Aegina signed in Greek (lower right); signed with initials (lower left) oil on card 24.5 x 20.5 cm.
PROVENANCE: Private collection, Athens.
Saturated by the blazing Greek sunlight, Papaloukas's whitewashed Byzantine chapel barely emerges from a sea of indigo and violet hues, without, however, losing its structural integrity. Radiating patterns of intense brushwork and curvilinear forms translated into walls, rocks and foliage seem to wrench the composition away from the conventional recession into depth and pull it forward to the frontal plane in an innovative understanding of space that echoes the tapestry-like flatness of the Nabis. As noted by the director of the National Gallery in Athens M. Lambraki-Plaka, the dialogue between light and nature dominated the artist's output during his stay on the island of Aegina in the summer of 1923. "Most of these small-size works were oils on unprimed card. This material absorbs the oily properties of paint and makes it look opaque like tempera. It seems that the artist deliberately sought this kind of effect. As a result, his colours acquired a chalky quality that better captures the dry nature of the Greek landscape."1