Nikos Engonopoulos (Greek, 1910-1985) The Poet and his Muse 85.5 x 63 cm.

This lot has been removed from the website, please contact customer services for more information

Lot 8AR
Nikos Engonopoulos
(Greek, 1910-1985)
The Poet and his Muse 85.5 x 63 cm.

Sold for £ 37,500 (US$ 51,691) inc. premium

Greek Sale

10 Apr 2017, 14:00 BST

London, New Bond Street

Nikos Engonopoulos (Greek, 1910-1985)
The Poet and his Muse
oil on canvas
85.5 x 63 cm.

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Nelly Andrikopoulou collection.
    Private collection, Athens.

    This work has been requested for the exhibition Nikos Engonopoulos at the Basil and Eliza Goulandris Museum, Andros, summer 2017.



    A remarkable find from Engonopoulos's fervently sought after pre-war period, The Poet and his Muse demonstrates the painter's lifelong fascination with ancient Greek subjects, which he consistently used in his effort to reinterpret his long and rich native tradition in a modern and vigorous manner. Here, a young and virile ancient Greek sculptor, holding the tools of his trade—a hammer and chisel—and standing in front of his unfinished kore, faithfully reflects his attitude towards painting as an ideal vehicle to probe into the world of Greekness.

    Engonopoulos's persistence on the historical past and indigenous cultural experiences indicates that "while European surrealists used an irrational vocabulary to break free from the shackles of traditional conventions, the Greek artist perceived tradition as a 'connecting link' that would restore cultural continuity."1 As noted by Athens National Gallery Director M. Lambraki-Plaka, "his figures may draw their origin from Giorgio de Chirico but they are unmistakably Greek, reminiscent of the Minoans immortalized on the Knossos frescoes and the early kouroi, while alluding to the tall and slender formula of the Byzantine saints also evident in El Greco's work."2

    Hovering over the figure of the nude artist, a beautiful half-naked muse affords Engonopoulos the opportunity to render the female form, which, always beautiful and seductive, would become a constant source of inspiration throughout his career. As noted by N. Loizidi, "Engonopoulos's mannequins are not generic androgynous figures but persons with clearly defined gender characteristics. Women are represented with voluptuous curves and daringly rendered nipples."3 The male-female theme evolved into such signature works as The Poet and his Muse, Orpheus and Eurydice and The Artist and his Model.

    A key element throughout Engonopoulos' artistic career, colour assumes a leading role in The Poet and his Muse. Applied side by side, the enamel-like reds, blues, greens and oranges invite the viewer to a festive ritual of pure colour. "Engonopoulos is a wizard with colour, which he handles with conscious daring, unique aptitude and undisputed love."4 As E. Engonopoulou, his daughter, notes, "for him each colour had its own value, its own voice"5; much the same as in Byzantine art, which Engonopoulos always considered the art form Greeks most closely relate to.

    1. N. Loizidi, "The Indigenous Surrealism of Nikos Engonopoulos" [in Greek], To Vima daily - Nees Epoches, 21.10.2007, p. A57.
    2. M. Lambraki-Plaka "The Timeless Pantheon of Nikos Engonopoulos" [in Greek], Filologiki quarterly, no. 101, October-November-December 2007, p. 9.
    3. N. Loizidi, "Regarding Jef, Midnight's Great Automaton" [in Greek] in Location: Engonopoulos, exhibition catalogue, Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki 2007, p.11.
    4. S. Boulakian, "The Work of Nikos Engonopoulos" in Greek Painters-20th Century [in Greek], Melissa publ., Athens 1974, p. 262.
    5. E. Engonopoulou, "Freedom and Discipline" in Nikos Engonopoulos, The Painter and the Poet, p. 23.
Contacts
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories, buyer's premium excluding Cars, Motorbikes, Wine, Whisky and Coin & Medal sales, will be as follows:

Buyer's Premium Rates
27.5% on the first £10,000 of the hammer price;
25% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £10,000 up to and including £450,000;
20% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £450,000 up to and including £4,500,000;
and 14.5% of the hammer price of any amounts in excess of £4,500,000.

VAT at the current rate of 20% will be added to the Buyer's Premium and charges excluding Artists Resale Right.

Payment Notices

For payment information please refer to the sale catalog.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licenses please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Lot symbols
AR Artists Resale Right

Goods subject to Artists Resale Right Additional Premium.

App