Yiannis Tsarouchis (Greek, 1910-1989) Greek military policeman in front of pink wall with two palm leaves 45 x 25.5 cm.

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Lot 24AR
Yiannis Tsarouchis
(Greek, 1910-1989)
Greek military policeman in front of pink wall with two palm leaves 45 x 25.5 cm.

Sold for £ 37,562 (US$ 48,211) inc. premium
Yiannis Tsarouchis (Greek, 1910-1989)
Greek military policeman in front of pink wall with two palm leaves
signed in Greek and dated '50' (upper right)
oil on canvas
45 x 25.5 cm.

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Private collection, Athens.

    Exhibited
    London, The Redfern Gallery, Michael Ayrton, Yanni Tsarouchis, John Paddy Carstairs, May 29 - June 23, 1951, listed in the exhibition catalogue no. 70 (possibly, based on title, date and medium).
    Athens, The British Council, Exhibition Yannis Tsarouchis, 1932-1952, a Retrospective Selection, February 17-29, 1952, listed in the exhibition catalogue no. 31 (possibly, based on title, date, medium and dimensions).

    Literature
    E. Florou, Tsarouchis - Painting, (doctoral dissertation), vol. 1, Athens 1989, no. 338, p. 113 (referred), p. 230 (catalogued).
    E. Florou, Yannis Tsarouchis, his Painting and his Era, Nea Synora - A.A. Livanis editions, Athens 1989, no. 406, p. 267 (catalogued), fig. 115, p. 134 (illustrated).
    Yannis Tsarouchis (1910-1989) Painting, Yannis Tsarouchis Foundation, Athens 1990, fig. 234 (illustrated).
    Yannis Tsarouchis Painting, Comments, Yannis Tsarouchis Foundation, Athens 1990, p. viii (discussed).
    K. Tartari, Yannis Tsarouchis, 100 Xronia, Middletown, DE, USA, 2018, p. 5 (illustrated).


    "I consider this work one of
    my best Military Policemen»
    Y. Tsarouchis

    This signature work by an emblematic figure of Modern Greek culture is a bold statement of the artist's resolve in portraying familiar images and probing the inner world of Greekness. Captured with compelling realism, expressed not through an emphasis on detail but rather on the conception of the Greek reality of his time, a rough, virile, working-class Greek male—a trademark subject in Tsarouchis's oeuvre—conveys a world of clarity and truthfulness, recapitulating in his straightforward gaze and harsh facial features the humane dignity and inner truth of Modern Greece.

    As noted by Nobel laureate O. Elytis, "Tsarouchis's painting turns our vision away from the imposed, philhellenic reality and focuses it on the reality of the Greeks, which was always latent inside us."1 Likewise, poet A. Embeirikos holds that, "when looking at Tsarouchis's work, one has the immediate impression of looking at Greek painting par excellence, more so than in the work of any other Greek painter, with the exception of Theofilos."2 In both artists everything is clearly expressed and all visual phenomena are thrust forward to the narrative surface where they receive even illumination in a continuous present.

    Archaising simplification of form, limited colour scheme, frontal poise3 reminiscent of Byzantine icon painting, confident brushwork, shallow compositional structure4 and bold outlines build up a solid edifice of pure form, perfectly matching the silent inflexibility and almost hieratic posture of the young soldier, transforming him into an earthbound saint of a Modern Greek pantheon.

    1 O. Elytis, preface to the Yannis Tsarouchis: Fifteen Works and One Original Print 1938-1963 album [in Greek], 1964.
    2 A. Embeirikos, "The Triumph of Sensuous Painting" [in Greek], Zygos magazine, no. 72-75, November 1961 - February 1962, pp. 11-12. See also "Yannis Tsarouchis", Greek Heritage quarterly, vol. 1, no. 2, Spring 1964, pp. 92-93.
    3 Most military policemen portrayed by Tsarouchis share a similar pose, with one hand resting on the belt and the other clutching their gun holster. See E. Florou, Yannis Tsarouchis, his Painting and his Era, Nea Synora - A.A. Livanis editions, Athens 1989, p. 134.
    4 The artist noted that "the figure is intentionally rendered in a tight space. I glued a narrow strip of canvas on the upper part to complete the composition and give it some height. I consider it one of my best Military Policemen." Yannis Tsarouchis Painting, Comments, Yannis Tsarouchis Foundation, Athens 1990, p. viii.
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