Dimitrios Galanis (Greek, 1880-1966) Motherhood 93 x 73 cm.
Lot 78
Dimitrios Galanis
(Greek, 1880-1966)
Motherhood 93 x 73 cm.
Sold for £ 84,000 (US$ 105,978) inc. premium

The Greek Sale

13 Dec 2007, 14:00 GMT

London, New Bond Street

Lot Details
Dimitrios Galanis (Greek, 1880-1966)
Motherhood
signed 'D. Galanis' (lower right)
oil on canvas
93 x 73 cm.

Footnotes

  • Painted c. 1919.

    Literature:
    Em. Mavromatis, The Prints and Paintings of Dimitrios Galanis, Athens 1983, p. 457, no 37 (illustrated p. 105).
    K. Maleas, A Greek artist who succeeded in Paris, Vima newspaper, 1928 (illustrated).
    Antonis Kotidis, Triantafyllidis, University Studio Press, Thessaloniki 2002, p. 245 (illustrated), p. 237 (referred).
    A. Kouria, The Child in Modern Greek Art 1833-1922, Dodoni Publ., Athens-Ioannina 1985, p.236 (referred).

    Both universal and timeless in its poignancy, this powerful image of mother and child ventures beyond the circumstantial and the anecdotal to capture the very idea and true essence of motherhood. Stripped of any time, place or culture specific references associated with the mundane, everyday tasks of the motherly role, Galanis's archetypal Mother is invested with the symbolic meaning and transcendental import of a religious image. The silent inflexibility and overt physicality of the female form absorbed in a world of noble duty, recall the breast-feeding Virgins of Byzantine and Western art, underlying the idea of motherhood as an eternal source of life. 1

    By the time he painted Motherhood, Galanis was already famous in France and was preparing for shows in Brussels, London and New York. In 1920-21 he frequently exhibited in Paris along such great figures of modern art as Matisse, Vlaminck and Braque, while from 1921 on he also showed along Juan Gris, Dufy, Chagall and Picasso. At that time his paintings made their first appearance in art auctions2 and in March 1922 he had his first one-man show, which received rave critical reviews. André Malraux noted that the artist's work "has the power to stir emotions equivalent to those of a Giotto." 3 It should be noted that the critics of the time paid much more attention to his figurative work than his landscapes, confirming the well-established view that Galanis' first and foremost concern was 'his love for the human form'. 4

    In his seminal account on the artist, G. Gabory holds that "Galanis loves design and form and his artistic personality is similar to Picasso's. He believes that compositional integrity and formal balance are achieved with an economy of means, and this is undoubtedly true because his Greek mind, which loves reason and order, is particularly devoted to those qualities. The impressionists, says Galanis, use a palette we might call 'natural'. I want my palette to be 'human'." 5 Gabory's views were enthusiastically shared by the great Greek artist C. Maleas in his significant article "A Greek Artist who Captured Paris", c.1927-1928, where he included a reproduction of Motherhood to perfectly illustrate his point.

    1. For discussion of motherhood in Modern Greek art see A. Kouria, Images of the Child in 20th Century Greek Art, [in Greek], Dodoni publ., Athens 1991, pp. 89-148. For comparison of the work to the Madonnas of Italian Renaissance art and the classicist treatment of the subject by Picasso around 1920 see A. Kotidis, Theofrastos Triantafyllidis [in Greek], University Studio Press Thessaloniki, 2002, p. 237.
    2. At the Hotel Drouot (1920, 1924).
    3. A. Malraux, preface in the exhibition catalogue, Galerie La Licorne, Paris May 1922.
    4. E. Mavromattis, The Engraving and Painting of Dimitris Galanis 1879-1966 (doctoral dissertation) [in Greek], Athens 1983, pp. 110, 144.
    5. G. Gabory, Galanis, Les Peintres Francais Nouveaux, Paris 1926, as quoted in C. Maleas, 'A Greek Artist who Captured Paris' [in Greek], Kyriaki tou Vimatos newspaper, c.1927-1928.
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