Dimitris Mytaras (Greek, born 1934) Still life with figure 170 x 135 cm.

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Lot 53AR
Dimitris Mytaras
(Greek, born 1934)
Still life with figure 170 x 135 cm.

Sold for £ 24,000 (US$ 29,666) inc. premium
Dimitris Mytaras (Greek, born 1934)
Still life with figure
signed in Greek and dated '61' (lower left)
oil on canvas
170 x 135 cm.

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE:
    Private collection, Athens.

    EXHIBITED:
    Athens, Zygos gallery, 1961 (possibly).

    Painting is different from drawing,
    but it's drawing nonetheless.

    Yannis Tsarouchis


    The work of Dimitris Mytaras represents a decisive contribution to the artistic legacy of his generation. As early as the early 1960s, at a period when pure abstraction was the irrefutable language of the international avant-garde and realism was relegated to the limbo of philistinism, he articulated a highly personal, reductive figurative vocabulary of form, where imperceptible silhouettes in evocative settings, such as in this engaging canvas, foreshadowed the restrained expressionistic modelling of his later figures.

    Reviewing the artist's work in 1961, then Athens National Gallery Director M. Kalligas noted: "Mytaras is the great hope of the new generation. He starts off from objective reality but stays there for such a short while that the uninitiated viewer may think that these paintings belong to abstract or non-objective art. Mytaras, however, managed to fully utilize I would say the achievements of the most recognized of his contemporaries, retaining some of objective reality's original stimuli. What mainly interests him is the organization of his expressive means on the picture plane, that is the organization either of well-structured forms adapted to the meaning of colours, or of expressive colours subjugated to an austere architectural edifice. ...By retaining the form of the human figure, Mytaras alludes to the figurative tradition of ancient Greek art. What really distinguishes him, however, endowing his work with even deeper meaning is moderation and the balance of the values, colours and forms that make up a picture." 1

    In her review of the artist's 1961 output, art critic E. Vakalo made the following remark: "Mytaras has perfectly assimilated the teachings of both Cezanne and Matisse, Mondrian and de Staël, namely that colour is drawing and drawing is colour. His imagery is pictorial rather than representational. That's why he insists on certain recurrent motifs, such as the dense foliage, the human figure, the table. The juxtaposition of colours, size of forms, quantity and nature of colour, increased and decreased tone and syncopated rhythm are all scrutinised as in a musical composition." 2

    These perceptive comments were actually foreshadowed by Yannis Tsarouchis' remarks published in the Zygos magazine a few months earlier: "What sets Mytaras apart from younger painters, who enjoy their freedom so much that they are in danger of losing it, is his instinctive awareness that painting is a constant effort to translate three-dimensional reality into the pictorial language, that is the language of chromatic harmonies....Painting is different from drawing, but it's drawing nonetheless." 3

    Maintaining a youthful artistic energy, as well as a high-profile intellectual and social presence, Dimitris Mytaras, a member of the Athens Academy since 2008, has greatly influenced many young painters at the Athens School of Fine Arts, following in the footsteps of his teacher, the late Yannis Moralis.

    1. M. Kalligas, 'The Humanity of Dimitris Mytaras' [in Greek], To Vima daily, 27.9.1961.
    2. E. Vakalo, 'D. Mytaras Exhibition' [in Greek], Ta Nea daily, 29.9.1961.
    3. Y. Tsarouchis, 'D. Mytaras' [in Greek], Zygos magazine, November-December 1960, no. 60-61, p. 11.
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