The present work was created at the height of Bouzianis' critical and public popularity. After his return to Greece in 1934, he met the initial disappointment of being overlooked for a post at the School of Fine Arts in Athens in addition to hostility from the Greek critics. A ground-breaking exhibition at the Parnassos Gallery in 1949 incited a sea change. In 1950 Bouzianis represented Greece at the Venice Biennale; in 1952 he won the Guggenheim award for Greece.
Now widely regarded as Greece's leading Expressionist painter, Bouzianis was deeply influenced by the avant-garde currents he encountered while in Germany from 1907 until 1934. After beginning his studies at the School of Fine Arts of Athens, with teachers such as Nikiforos Lytras and Konstantinos Volanakis, Bouzianis moved to Germany and studied at the Munich Academy under Otto Seitz and then in Berlin at the studio of the German Impressionist Max Liebermann.
Bouzianis became associated with the two dominant groups of German Expressionist painters: Die Brücke, which counted among its members Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Max Pechstein and Emil Nolde and Der Blaue Reiter, led by Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc. In Germany he was also exposed to the satirical work of the Neue Sachlichkeit. Die Brücke and Der Blaue Reiter explored the passage to a more spiritual existence and the expression of human feeling in the light of what they perceived as an encroaching destructive industrial civilization. Bouzianis took from this '... the one great lesson of Expressionism: the absolute freedom of the Ego, the subject, to see and express the world in the image of its own soul' (Marina Lambraki-Plaka, National Gallery. 100 Years: Four Centuries of Greek Painting, Athens, 1999, p. 506).
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