Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika (Greek, 1906-1994) Houses in Hydra 39.5 x 58 cm.
Lot 25AR
Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika
(Greek, 1906-1994)
Houses in Hydra 39.5 x 58 cm.
Sold for £25,000 (US$ 33,376) inc. premium

The Greek Sale

15 Nov 2017, 14:00 GMT

London, New Bond Street

Lot Details
Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika (Greek, 1906-1994)
Houses in Hydra
signed 'Ghika' (lower right)
oil on panel
39.5 x 58 cm.

Footnotes

  • Painted c.1941 - 1942.

    Provenance
    Acquired from 'Trito Mati' Gallery in 1977 by the present owner.

    Literature
    K.C. Valkana, Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika, His Painting Oeuvre, Benaki Museum, Athens 2011, no. 115, p. 279 (illustrated).

    This blissful view of Hydra's landscape with its characteristic red-roof houses, sloping terrain, jagged stone walls and insular flora shows the small inlet of Kamini, above which the Ghika family's imposing mansion was perched. The artist's mother, Helen Ghika, came from a prominent Hydriot family that distinguished itself during the Greek War of Independence. In 1936, Ghika started renovating the family house and from 1937 to 1961, when it was completely destroyed in a fire, he often took refuge there, to work and vacation, hosting distinguished guests including Henri Cartier-Bresson and Walter Gropius. As noted by writer E. Fenton in 1948, "one of the largest houses on Hydra, and certainly one of the handsomest, belongs to the painter Hadjikyriakos-Ghika. From many of its terraces there is a superb view of the mainland opposite, and of the roofs of the village below."1

    The unspoiled charm of Hydra's traditional architecture and the subtle buoyancy of its well-balanced lines, empowered Ghika to open a fruitful dialogue with his native land. As noted by the British poet Stephen Spender "when it comes to his paintings of Hydra, Ghika is simply the best modern painter of Greece, and it is difficult to think of any past painter to compare with him."2 "In the 1940s, Ghika devoted himself to the examination of objectivity. This he did with the controlled though passionate lyricism which is characteristic of him. In his own particular way he tries to seek out the secret, plastic life that inhabits every object. But Ghika is a man of prudence. There is in his work a classical proportion, which might make it disagreeably severe if the artist's hand were not guided by one invaluable element in his nature: that of elegance. He looks at the objectiveness of the world with the amazement of a child who sees everything for first time."3

    1. E. Fenton, "White Islands of the Aegean", Town and Country magazine, July 1948, p. 95, as cited in Ghika - Craxton - Leigh Fermor, Charmed Lives in Greece (exhibition catalogue), A.G. Leventis Gallery, Nicosia 2017, p. 53.
    2. S. Spencer, "Ghika" in Ghika, Paintings, Drawings, Sculpture, C. Zervos, S. Spender, P.L. Fermor ed., Boston Book and Art Shop, Boston 1965, p. 22.
    3. M. Raynal, preface to the catalogue of the First Exhibition in England of Paintings and Sculpture by Ghika, The Leicester Galleries, London 1953.
Activities
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