Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika (Greek, 1906-1994) Terrace plant 100 x 73 cm.

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Lot 3AR P
Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika
(Greek, 1906-1994)
Terrace plant 100 x 73 cm.

Sold for £ 72,562 (US$ 92,420) inc. premium
Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika (Greek, 1906-1994)
Terrace plant
signed and dated 'Ghika/65' (lower right)
oil on canvas
100 x 73 cm.

Footnotes

  • Exhibited
    Athens, National Gallery - Alexandros Soutzos Museum, Ghika, May 1973, no. 115 (listed in the exhibition catalogue).
    Athens, Benaki Museum, N. Hadjikyriakos Ghika, The Apollonian, the Dionysian 1906-1994, November 11, 2006 - January 15, 2007 (illustrated in the exhibition catalogue, no. 236, p. 140).

    Literature
    K.C. Valkana, Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika, His Painting Oeuvre, Benaki Museum, Athens 2011, no. 366, p. 300 (illustrated).


    A riot of festive colours and a lacework of energetic lines and rhythmically orchestrated forms, this luminous and cheerful painting of Dionysian contemplation and paganistic zeal aptly illustrates Ghika's ability to filter the world around him through his rich imagination and transform an ordinary terrace plant into an expression of the enthusiasm sparked in him by nature. Every part in the picture is imbued with the breath of the exuberant flora and the refractions of light, exploding into dazzling mosaic-like fragments that spin and swirl around enigmatic webs of geometric and patterned features so that the whole composition is in a state of perpetual becoming, immersed in a constantly changing and revived atmosphere.1

    From the late 1950s on, Ghika's ordered architectural structures were gradually replaced by a world subject to natural forces,2 to explosions of colour and form, where trees, leaves, bushes and flowers were set in motion, engaged in a perpetual Dionysian dance. Inspired perhaps by Japanese calligraphy's pronounced gestures and constant flow of brush and pen, his landscapes became denser and more mystical, reflecting his perception of nature as a cosmogony invested with pantheistic rituals and Oriental myths.

    "I tried to evoke the whispering of leaves, the buzz of insects, the movements of tree branches, the breathing of the juices, the swirling of petals. The artist discovers pulsating rhythms derived from his intimate relationship with nature. He discovers them in the leaves and insects, in the light and the shadows cast by wind-swayed trees, in the flight of birds and the nuances of colour. In other words, I want the viewer to feel the knife used to carve out nature. I want him or her to even feel the music, the sounds emanating from the orchestration of different forms, different shapes, different lines and not only the orchestration but, if possible, even the inherent scent they exude, which is the most elusive sense of all."3 "Every artist who is by nature a colorist bears within him his own harmonies of colour, which are never exactly those of nature but those of his own ideal of nature. In my case, these harmonies are mainly composed of mauves, greys and pinks, but sun-drenched, sun-saturated colors that have at the same time preserved something of the brightness which might have been theirs in a less cruel light."4

    "What remains as my strongest impression about Ghika's work is its constant inspiration from nature – the wonder, the strength, the beauty, the power, the patterns. I asked him if nature was always inspiring to him and he answered, Always. No matter what happens in life, nature is always an inspiration."5

    1 See N. Hadjikyriakos-Ghika, the Apollonian-the Dionysian [in Greek], exhibition catalogue, Benaki Museum, Athens 2006, p. 52.
    2 See M. Achimastou-Potamianou, "The Art of Ghika" [in Greek], in The Greek Painters, vol. II, 20th Century, Melissa editions, Athens 1975", p. 340.
    3 See N. Hadjikyriakos-Ghika, The Birth of New Art [in Greek], Astrolavos-Efthini editions, Athens 1987, pp. 232-234; N. Hadjikyriakos-Ghika, In Front of Others [in Greek], Athens 1990, p. 25. See also transcribed excerpts from the 'Monogramma' television documentary, ERT-2, 1984 in Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika [in Greek], Tegopoulos editions, Athens, 2009, p. 150.
    4 Ghika's interview by E. Roditi, The Charioteer magazine, vol. 1, no. 2, Autumn 1960, p. 55.
    5 H. Livas, Contemporary Greek Artists, Vantage Press, New York, 1993, p. 11.
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