Jean Altamoura (Greek, 1852-1878) Junction in choppy seas 37 x 60.5 cm.
Lot 8
Jean Altamoura
(Greek, 1852-1878)
Junction in choppy seas 37 x 60.5 cm.
£20,000 - 30,000
US$ 27,000 - 40,000

The Greek Sale

28 Apr 2015, 14:00 BST

London, New Bond Street

Lot Details
Jean Altamoura (Greek, 1852-1878)
Junction in choppy seas
signed and dated 'Jean Altamouras / 1875' (lower right)
oil on canvas
37 x 60.5 cm.

Footnotes

  • We are grateful to the descendants of the artist's family for confirming the authenticity of this work.

    Provenance
    Private collection, Athens.

    "Altamoura produced only a few works and none of them is mediocre. At a time when an attorney in law was being paid fifteen drachmas for a court appearance, a canvas by Altamoura was purchased by the then Ministry of Marine Affairs for 2,000 drachmas."1

    In 1875, Altamoura, this short-lived but exceptional seascape painter who by the age of 24 was already an acclaimed artist enjoying the full support of the Greek Royal Court, was in Denmark on a state scholarship that enabled him to pursue graduate studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. As noted by G. Piemontese who prepared the artist's monograph, Altamoura spent the summer of 1875 aboard the frigate "Jylland", an important vessel of the Danish royal fleet.2 From May 21 to August 23, "Jylland" went on its 10th cruise from Elsinore to Plymouth, Madeira and Cherbourg. According to E. Kypreou, who curated the artist's major retrospective at the Benaki Museum in 2011, this is highly probable since there are no other works by him with 'Danish' subjects during that period other than some drawings from a journey at sea, the frigate itself, as well as different types of ships. Evidently, Altamoura was offered the same opportunity to sail with the royal fleet as any other Danish marine painter.3 (Compare Warship, a watercolour on paper from 1875, showing the same battleship and other similar vessels with Danish flags).

    Junction in choppy seas is a fine example of Altamoura's mature style, demonstrating assurance of technique rarely found in so young an artist. The shifting atmosphere, the metaphysical luminosity of the European north, the mobility of light, the jewel-like details, such as the minuscule figures aboard the vessels, the low horizon in the vein of old Flemish masters and the breadth and openness of the shimmering sky that shines through travelling clouds, have been portrayed with effortless brilliance and loving care, combining academic principles with a vivid sense of on-the-spot immediacy.

    1. E. Kipreou, Jean Altamouras, a Tempestuous Life [in Greek], Kathimerini newspaper, 28.6.2009, p. 15.
    2. G. Piemontese, Giovanni-Ioannis-Jean Altamura, Foggia 2009, pp. 22,24.
    3. E. Kipreou, "The Years in Denmark" in Jean Altamouras, his Life and Works, exhibition catalogue, Benaki Museum, Athens 2001, p. 108.
Activities
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