We are grateful to Aphrodite Kouria for her assistance in cataloguing this lot.
This rich work demonstrates Economou's talents as a colourist and observer of light, with the intense and variegated orange and yellow hues sensitively combined with pinks and blues, the whole reflected in the calm waters. The whole shimmers, mirage-like, at the foot of the soft, earthy hill.
Economou initially went to Paris in 1906 to study architecture, but soon changed his mind and enrolled at the Académie des Beaux-Arts instead. The twenty years during which he lived and worked in France had a profound influence on his oeuvre. In particular the work of Manet and Matisse and their modern theories on composition and colour were adapted by the artist to suit his individual artistic vision. While Manet maintained that the flat, two-dimensional surface of a painting was a pictorial space in its own right, Matisse advocated the value of colour as a self-sufficient means of expression. However, as Aphrodite Kouria has pointed out, 'Whatever the artistic affinities Economou might have had with Western European artistic trends, the basic and essential characterisic of his art is his intensely personal style, the hallmark of a genuine temperament which sought to transform the facts of the perceptible world into images of inner truth.' (Aphrodite Kouria, Michalis Economou: An Individualistic Interpreter of Greek Landscapes, Athens, 1983, p. 44).
''All the subjects of Economou's work are taken from nature. In his earliest paintings - landscapes mainly from the South of France but also from Greece - the weathered walls of the houses and mills, the arches of the old bridges and the rocks are 'structured' with dull or greyish tones, splashed uninhibitedly but with a masterful touch on card, linen or canvas, sometimes almost sculpted, at other times as if wiped smooth.' (Aphrodite Kouria, Michalis Economou: An Individualistic Interpreter of Greek Landscapes, Zygos, Athens, 1983, p. 44). In the present work, the use of this technique as well as the blending of colours and contours lends the painting a hazy, ethereal quality. Within Economou's often almost monochromatic compositions, colour, as a vehicle to convey feelings and create atmosphere, took supremacy. 'Even those subjects which could be used as narrative elements appear in his paintings in a purely chromatic role. Thus the human figures in his paintings - when they do appear - breathe no spark of life into the work: they are merely an excuse for a small area of colour or a patch of brushwork' (ibid.).
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