Yiannis Moralis (b.1916) Erotikon 100.5 x 81 cm. (39 1/2 x 31 7/8 in.)

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Lot 162
Yiannis Moralis
(b.1916)
Erotikon 100.5 x 81 cm. (39 1/2 x 31 7/8 in.)

Sold for £ 123,200 (US$ 172,940) inc. premium
Yiannis Moralis (b.1916)
Erotikon
signed in Greek and dated '2001-2002' (lower left); signed, dated and inscribed ‘Yannis MORALIS/2002/Athènes/Gréce (on the reverse)
acrylic on canvas
100.5 x 81 cm. (39 1/2 x 31 7/8 in.)

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Acquired directly from the artist.

    'Elde Einfalt und stille Grösse'
    Goethe

    An exquisite painting by a world-class artist dedicated to the rendition of the human figure, particularly the female body. As Nobel laureate O. Elytis once said of Moralis, “by using a limited vocabulary of form, in which recurrent and opposing curves of ochre and black dominate, Moralis has succeeded - in a manner unprecedented in Greek art - to transform the language of the natural world into a purely visual phenomenon. Memories and encounters are repeatedly distilled until they blend into forms of great simplicity and precision. The body of a young girl emerges with the dampness of the sea, like a magnified fragment of an ancient Greek vase or a miniature fresco from a bygone place of worship.”1 Likewise, N. Chatzikyriakos-Ghika noted: “Closely attuned to the idealism of ancient Greek art, his youthful females are lovable forms endowed with grace and tenderness, created by the Muses and the Hours.”2

    Since 1974 Moralis has been giving us images of woman in her new, emancipated status, notes D. Papastamos, former Director of the National Gallery in Athens. “This recurrent figure, either sitting or reclining, is always treated in a progressively reductive manner. In this, more advanced stage of his geometric abstraction distinguished by dynamic rhythm and expressive movement, he launches out into compositions dealing with human relationships, incorporating the male body into his interlocking geometric patterns. It seems to me that these are the artist’s happy moments, depicted in a beautiful environment of luminous colour and irresistibly erotic humanity. Ever since the beginning of his career, Moralis has dedicated his art to this.”3

    In Eroticon, by sacrificing all descriptive detail, rejecting the illusion of space, avoiding tonal gradations and emphasizing only the essential structural elements, Moralis expresses what is permanent and universal. The tone is set by gently flowing curvilinear themes underscored by an austere compositional structure of verticals and horizontals and complemented by the expressive sensibility of his palette.4 The engaging form of the young woman seems to have a light of her own, the same eternal light of Byzantine art which does not come from a specific source but emanates from within.5 The stark juxtaposition of earthly hues with the dazzling white in the background, accentuated by the dark standing male form on the right, suggests a private interior space, charging the whole composition with an exuberant inner rhythm and intensely erotic import.

    1. O. Elytis, preface in the Moralis exhibition catalogue, Iolas-Zoumboulakis Galerie, Athens 1972
    2. N. Chatzikyriakos-Ghika, Nea Estia magazine, no. 1245, 15/5/1979
    3. D. Papastamos, Yannis Moralis the Artist, in Yannis Moralis, Commercial Bank of Greece, Athens 1988, p. 26
    4. See Ch. Christou, Moralis, Adam, Athens 1993, pp. 32, 34
    5. See M. Chatzidakis, Yiannis Moralis, Zygos magazine, no. 80, July 1962, p. 6
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