Georgios Bouzianis (Greek, 1885-1959) Sitzende Frau (Seated woman) 55.5 x 46 cm.

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Lot 48AR
Georgios Bouzianis
(Greek, 1885-1959)
Sitzende Frau (Seated woman) 55.5 x 46 cm.

£ 50,000 - 60,000
US$ 62,000 - 74,000
Georgios Bouzianis (Greek, 1885-1959)
Sitzende Frau (Seated woman)
signed (lower left); signed 'Buzianis' (on the reverse)
oil on panel
55.5 x 46 cm.

Footnotes

  • Painted c. 1940.

    PROVENANCE:
    Estate of the artist, Germany.
    Sotheby's Greek Sale of 9 November 2009, lot 70.
    Acquired from the above sale by the present owner.

    LITERATURE:
    D. Deliyannis, Bouzianis, Adam editions, Athens 1996, no. 128, p. 288 (listed), p. 129 (illustrated).


    Filling the picture plane with her corporeal presence and statuesque calm,
    Bouzianis's seated woman generates a tension between bodily volume and pictorial space, endowing the work with vitality and rhythm and making it look like a vibrating icon bathed in its own light. Although the portrait, with its impetuous brushwork, sweeping gestures and sensuous colour, is definitely a vehicle for emotional states, representing a radical departure from the ancient Greek ideal of beauty, there is still something classical about it1 that differentiates it from the mainstream of 20th c. European expressionism. The element of distortion, which played such a key role in Die Brücke and other expressionist avant-garde movements, is kept here on a very tight rein. The artist avoids sentimentality and pathos, or indeed any device which might charge his forms with too obvious a pitch of heightened feeling. There are no grotesque excesses, no falsification whatsoever of the subject's essential integrity. Yet, his Seated woman is full of strong feeling, marvellously disciplined by artistic intelligence and continuously subordinated to aesthetic demands. As perceptively noted by the painter C. Botsoglou, "the intensity in Bouzianis's work does not derive from the expressiveness of faces and bodies. His figures are emotionless, showing no facial contortions. The expressive thrust of his painting relies exclusively on pictorial means."2

    Elaborating on this remark, Y. Psychopedis notes: "Though he had assimilated the radical extremities of expressionism, Bouzianis transformed their pronounced gothic metaphysics to a discourse regarding the living human subject. His figures are tied to reality; they are not alienated as formless matter, neither lose their identity becoming archetypal forms or nightmarish masks. His work emanates a nostalgia for the classical, a nostalgia for a lost and constantly sought balance."3 Moreover, the frontality of the portrait, set against a barren background, is akin to the perception governing Byzantine icon painting, endowing it with symbolic dimension and spiritual content as if it were the image of a modern saint.

    1. See Y. Tsarouchis, preface to Bouzianis-Watercolours [in Greek], Agra-The Friends of Bouzianis, Athens 1982, p. 12.
    2. C. Botsoglou, Reflections on the Work of G. Bouzianis - A Confession [in Greek], Anti journal, no.302, 25.10.1985.
    3. Y. Psychopedis, The Militant Introversion, Expressive Lyricism and Critical Spirit in the Work of Bouzianis [in Greek] in Nostos, Kedros publ., Athens 2009, pp. 228-229.
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