Nikolaos  Gyzis (Greek, 1842-1901) Little girl 29 x 24 cm.

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Lot 6
Nikolaos Gyzis
(Greek, 1842-1901)
Little girl 29 x 24 cm.

Sold for £ 100,000 (US$ 125,014) inc. premium
Nikolaos Gyzis (Greek, 1842-1901)
Little girl
signed 'N.Gysis' (upper left)
oil on canvas
29 x 24 cm.

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Mitarakis collection, Athens and thence by descent to the present owner.

    Exhibited
    Athens, Nikolaos Gysis 1842-1901, The Great Master, National Gallery and A. Soutzos Museum, October 8 - December 10 2001, no. 37 (illustrated in the exhibition catalogue, fig. 22, p. 42).

    Literature
    Greek Painters of the Nineteenth Century, E.K. Frantziskakis ed., Commercial Bank of Greece edition, Athens 1957, p. 93 (illustrated).
    Eikones magazine, no. 117, January 20-26, 1958, p. 31 (illustrated).
    The Greek Painters, vol. 1, From the 19th Century to the 20th, Melissa editions, Athens 1974, p. 153 (discussed).
    C. Christou, Greek Painting 1832-1922, National Bank of Greece edition, Athens 1981, p. 57 (discussed).
    A. Kouria, The Child in Modern Greek Art (1833-1922), Dodoni editions, Athens-Yannina, 1985, p. 238 (listed).
    N. Misirli, Gysis, Adam editions, Athens 1995, no. 70, p. 371 (listed), full page illustration (p. 125) and cover illustration.
    Kathimerini daily, Epta Imeres, March 3, 1997, p. 22 (discussed).
    Kathimerini daily, Epta Imeres, March 8, 1998, p. 30 (illustrated).
    Nikolaos Gysis 1842-1901, On the Occasion of the Centenary of his Death, 2001 Calendar, National Gallery and A. Soutzos Museum, Athens 2000 (illustrated).
    Y. Papaioannou, Nikolaos Gysis, Ta Nea editions, Athens 2006, p. 75 (discussed).


    Featured alone on the cover of Gysis' 1995 monograph and mounted prominently in the artist's 2001 major retrospective in Athens, this exquisite Bonhams picture is recognized by scholars as a masterpiece by the great exponent of 19th century Greek painting.

    In Melissa editions' The Greek Painters, the work is admired as "one of Gysis' finest children's portraits. Captured close up and in full frontal view, it shows only the girl's facial traits, while her head is wrapped in an enormous dark scarf."1 In a similar vein, Professor C. Christou noted that this head of a child is a Gysis masterpiece. Most of the girl's face is covered by a kerchief to lend more prominence to her eyes. Gysis manages to truly and masterfully convey on the painterly surface the child's very soul, her worries and innocence, the inner depth and honesty of character reflected in her beautiful green eyes.2

    This close-up immediacy endows the picture with compelling energy, while the vigorous brushwork generates a sense of mobility and vitality that animates the sculpturesque calm of the sitter's posture. Reminiscent of Byzantine icons, the rigorously frontal image transforms the scarfed girl into a saint of an earthbound pantheon, while its captivating immediacy and resilient allure is a testament to Gysis' power of an imaginative transaction between the subject, the artist and the beholder.

    Synthesising Gysis' indebtedness to academic principles and his interest in venturing beyond clarity, likeness and descriptiveness to voice a strong artistic statement, this acute portrait shows no signs of idealisation, its unadorned beauty emanating from within, depending on honesty of representation, genuineness of character and purity of form. Impeccably painted in earth tones, highlighted by flashes of colour, solid outlines and lively brushstrokes, the work builds up a vibrant and moving image of remarkable expressive power. The generalised rendering and downplay of descriptive detail point to the artist's concern with purely pictorial issues, impelling the viewer to delve beyond the surface and seek the inner world of the young girl.

    1. Y. Papaioannou, "Nikolaos Gysis (1842-1901)" [in Greek] in The Greek Painters, vol. 1, From the 19th Century to the 20th, Melissa editions, Athens 1974, p. 153. See also Y. Papaioannou, "Psychographic Portraits" [in Greek] in Nikolaos Gysis, Kathimerini daily - Epta Imeres, March 9, 1997, p. 22.
    2. See C. Christou, Greek Painting 1832-1922, National Bank of Greece edition, Athens 1981, p. 57.
Contacts
Nikolaos  Gyzis (Greek, 1842-1901) Little girl 29 x 24 cm.
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