An exceptional array of works by three Greek major contemporary artists with a strong following among American collectors will be featured in Bonhams Greek Art sale in London, November 25.
Among the most fascinating works is the maquette for Lucas Samaras’s seminal work Corridor, which was exhibited in curator Maurice Tuchman’s ground-breaking 1967 exhibition “American Sculpture of the Sixties” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Having known Samaras from their days as graduate students at Columbia University, Tuchman asked him to create a special experiential installation which allowed visitors to walk through a mirrored corridor embedded within a pavilion-like structure. As Tuchman recalls: “Lucas came through with flying colours, creating an all-mirror, 3-D work for the exhibition. It was an instant hit with the immense public and with the art critics nationally.” The hand-painted maquette for Corridor, to be offered in the Greek Sale, was acquired by Tuchman while working on the LACMA exhibition and has been in his personal collection ever since. It is estimated at US$9,000-12,000 (£6,000-8,000).
Although born in Greece, Samaras (1936) was raised in New York where his father went into business as a furrier. The artist spent many of his teenage summers stitching small pieces of fabric together and this experience is reflected in much of his work. Reconstruction #58 (estimate US$75,000-105,000 (£50,000-70,000) consists of vibrantly patterned swatches of fabric stitched together giving the impression of wild energy and intense speed of execution softened by the quilt like effect of the completed work. A cult figure in the post-war avant-garde, Samaras’ long-term relationship with the Pace Gallery in New York cemented his reputation with collectors.
The work of the Greek-born Chryssa (1944-2013), who was the first artist working in America to use emitted electric light and neon, plays with concepts of light and sound as seen in her Jazz Blues US$18,000-28,000 (£12,000-18,000) and Neon Box US$9,000-12,000 (£6,000-8,000), producing majestic forms and oscillating patterns that capture the imagery of the modern urban landscape. Her intriguing piece, Bouzouki capital, US$9,000-12,000 (£6,000-8,000) was shown in 1961 at the very first of a series of small solo shows pioneered by the Guggenheim Museum in New York to introduce new artists to the public.
Two works by Theodoros Stamos (1922-1997), who played an active role in the New York avantgarde during the early years of Abstract Expressionism, complete the selection. Always sensitive to the particularities of light, mood, and colour of specific locales, Stamos’s paintings are indexes of his responses to different places and emotions. His abstract compositions are characterized by broad areas of colour delineated by slim lines or shapes as in the two works offered here: Infinity Field from 1974, estimated at US$11,000-15,000 £7,000-10,000 and Poster 1968 at US$8,000-11,000 £5,000-7,000.
Bonhams Greek Art specialist, Olympia Pappa, said: ”These three contemporary Greek internationally acclaimed artists, who largely made their reputations in the USA, never lost connection with their country of origin. The artistic mastery of these leading figures of the diaspora shines through their works that explore the transmission of their heritage through an international perspective, creating a meeting point between US Modernism and Greek classicism.”
See more works and learn more about the Bonhams Greek Art Sale here.