Michalis Economou (Greek, 1888-1933) On the way to Loutraki 60 x 50 cm. (Painted in 1927.)

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Lot 8P
Michalis Economou
(Greek, 1888-1933)
On the way to Loutraki 60 x 50 cm.

Sold for £ 25,062 (US$ 32,771) inc. premium
Michalis Economou (Greek, 1888-1933)
On the way to Loutraki
signed 'M.Economou' (lower left)
oil on flannel laid on canvas
60 x 50 cm.
Painted in 1927.

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Nia Stratos collection, Athens.

    Exhibited
    Athens, Parnassos Gallery, Exhibition of Paintings by Mich. Economou, November 17 - December 10, 1927, no. 26 or 42 (listed in the exhibition catalogue).
    Athens, Armos Gallery, Michalis Economou 1888-1933 Retrospective Exhibition, April 1961, no. 36, listed in the exhibition catalogue (possibly).

    Literature
    A. Kouria, Michalis Economou, Adam editions, Athens 2001, no. 114, pp. 107, 115 (mentioned), p. 245 (listed), p. 256 (catalogued), pp. 108, 163 (illustrated).

    Resembling flames of dark green flaring from the earth against an animated sky, Economou's evocative cypresses echo one of Van Gogh's signature subjects1 (compare Road with cypresses, 1890, Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo.) The work dates after 1926, the year Economou returned to Greece from France, and was included in his 1927 personal exhibition in Athens. Reviewing the show, critic D. Kokkinos noted that the exhibits were "true works of poetry, but so masterfully rendered that their significance as paintings prevailed."2 As noted by art historian A. Kouria, who prepared the artist's monograph, critics of the time stressed the museum quality of these works and urged art lovers to hasten and purchase them. In light of such critical and popular acclaim, it's no wonder that Economou's works adorned the collections of major early 20th century Greek collectors, such as C. Loulis, G. Stringos and A. Benakis.3

    In this evocative rendition infused with an ethereal light and a hazy, dreamlike atmosphere, nature becomes a landscape of the artist's inner world, while reality is transformed into an image of subjective truth. As noted by Kouria, "an ambivalent sense of presence/absence suffuses these silent images, suspended between real time and memory... In some paintings, the trees (pines and cypresses, lone or in combination) seem to have lost their weight, becoming insubstantial and vulnerable, with slender, sinuous lines as trunks. ...A latent energy, a secret, surreptitious life force enlivens these paintings...In certain cases, the expressive thrust takes on a dramatic quality, which borders on expressionism with Northern European overtones, as in On the road to Loutraki."4

    1 Van Gogh was fascinated by cypresses as natural equivalents of architectural forms, "as beautiful in lines and proportions as an Egyptian obelisk." He admired their inherently expressive character, stressed their spiritual significance and compared their colour to a musical note.
    2 Elliniki newspaper, December 4, 1927. See also A. Kouria, Michalis Economou [in Greek], Adam editions, Athens 2001, p. 125.
    3 Kouria, p. 125.
    4 Ibid, pp. 108-113, 115.
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