Yiannis Moralis (Greek, 1916-2009) Full Moon M  195 x 177.5 cm.

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Lot 33AR
Yiannis Moralis
(Greek, 1916-2009)
Full Moon M 195 x 177.5 cm.

Sold for £ 350,062 (US$ 481,394) inc. premium
Yiannis Moralis (Greek, 1916-2009)
Full Moon M
signed in Greek and dated '1977-78' (lower right)
signed and dated 'Yannis MORALIS/ Athènes-Grèce/ 1977-78' (on the reverse)
acrylic on canvas
195 x 177.5 cm.


  • Provenance
    Private collection, Athens.

    Athens, Zoumboulakis Gallery, Moralis, March 1978, no. 23 (illustrated in the exhibition catalogue).
    Thessaloniki, Cochlias Gallery, Moralis, May 1978.
    Athens, Benaki Museum - Greek Ministry of Culture, Greece and the Sea, 1985, no. 1117 (illustrated in the exhibition catalogue, p. 47).
    Athens, National Gallery - A. Soutzos Museum, Yannis Moralis, April - June 5, 1988, no. 96 (catalogued, p. 67 and illustrated in the exhibition catalogue, p. 44).
    Andros, Y. Moralis, Traces, Museum of Contemporary Art – Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation, 2008 (catalogued, p. 236 and illustrated in the exhibition catalogue, p. 121).
    Athens, Benaki Museum, Yannis Moralis, September 20, 2018 - February 10, 2019.

    Sima magazine, no. 22, no. 5, March 1979, p. 41 (illustrated).
    P. Charis, Earth's Last Night, Athens 1979 (dust cover illustration).
    Zoumboulakis Gallery, 100 Posters of Greek and Foreign Artists, exhibition leaflet, Athens 1985 (illustrated).
    Yannis Moralis, Commercial Bank of Greece Group of Companies edition, Athens 1988, no. 229, p. 228 (illustrated).
    C. Christou, Moralis, Adam editions, Athens 1993, no. 163 (illustrated).
    C. Christou, Yannis Moralis: The Artist, the Teacher, His Work, Minutes of the Academy of Athens 1996, vol. 71, 1997, p. 177 (referred).
    Ellinomouseion, Six Centuries of Greek Painting, vol. 2, Militos editions, Athens 2001, p. 68 (illustrated).
    C. Christou, Moralis, Adam editions, Athens 2004, p. 171 (illustrated).
    Y. Bolis, Yannis Moralis, K. Adam editions, Athens 2005, p. 42 (illustrated).
    Y. Bolis, Yannis Moralis, Contemporary Greek Painters, Ta Nea editions, Athens 2007, p. 36 (illustrated).
    Gr Design magazine, September 2018 (illustrated on the cover and pp. 52-53).
    E. Tsaldiri, Yannis Moralis and the Secret Game of Forms, Livanis editions, Athens 2009, p. 45 (illustrated).
    Aiginaia magazine, no. 19, August-December 2010, p. 68 (illustrated).
    Praktoreio magazine, no. 97, September 20, 2018, p. 8 (illustrated).
    Electra magazine, no. 23, Winter 2018/2019, (illustrated on the cover [detail] and pp. 17, 75).

    A superb example of advanced geometric abstraction, Full moon M is distinguished by solid compositional structure, purity of form, harmonious proportions and dynamic rhythm of flowing curvilinear themes and interlocking patterns. True to his classical Greek heritage and yet utilizing a formal vocabulary perfectly balanced to the scale of contemporary sensitivity, Moralis achieved the modern realisation of a classical ideal, the discovery of a universal measure for logos and pathos. "Moralis used abstraction to isolate the core of human existence, to create a language of symbols. He painted evocative forms that echo age-old memories, freed from the burden of their physical existence."1

    Reviewing the artist's work from the late 1970s, art history Professor C. Christou incisively noted that in these paintings "we overhear an internal dialogue between warm and cool colours, active and passive themes, hard and soft forms, fluid and fixed lines, all of which contrive to create an astonishingly expressive effect. Moralis remains true to the human figure, notwithstanding that he portrays it in such a simplified and schematic manner that it takes on the appearance of a mere suggestion." 2

    K. Koutsomallis, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art of the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation, made a similar remark: "1976 marks the beginning of a new period in Moralis's work that is exclusively devoted to geometric abstraction. Forms now become wholly immaterial, dissolving into pure schemata. However, their monumental character does not reduce their sensuality. On the contrary, eroticism acquires its transcendental expression. In no way does this sensual robustness of form -vaguely reminiscent of nude human figures- take anything away from their graceful tenderness, lyrical quality and richness." 3

    By sacrificing all descriptive detail, avoiding tonal gradations and emphasising only the essential pictorial elements, Moralis expressed what is permanent and universal. "One may trace a progress from earthly to heavenly love, from the sensual aspects of the subject to the metaphysical and transcendental. In his fragmented and elliptical figures and in the wealth of his linear compositions and chromatic statements, he neither describes nor narrates but expresses and interprets the forces of creation." 4 His pure forms and abstractive surfaces are the distilled essence of human presence.

    1 Y. Bolis, Yannis Moralis [in Greek], Ta Nea ed., Athens 2007, p. 79.
    2 C. Christou, Moralis, Adam editions, Athens 1993, p. 33.
    3 K. Koutsomallis, "The Painting of Yannis Moralis, a Tentative Approach" in Y. Moralis, Traces, exhibition catalogue, Museum of Contemporary Art - Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation, Andros 2008, pp. 18-19, 30.
    4 C. Christou, Moralis, pp. 20, 33, 34.
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