Lot 14
  • 14

Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika

100,000 - 150,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika
  • A travers la ville
  • signed and titled in French on the reverse
  • oil on canvas
  • 272 by 173cm., 107 by 68in.


Alexander Iolas, by 1975
Private collector, Athens


London, Whitechapel Gallery, Ghika: Paintings 1934 - 1968, 1968, no. 100
Athens, National Gallery & Alexandros Soutzos Museum, Ghika, 1973, no. 141
London, Wildenstein Gallery, Hadjinicolaou Nicos, Theophilos, Kontoglou, Ghika, Tsarouchis, Four Painters of 20th Century Greece, 1975, illustrated in the catalogue


Stelios Lydakis, The Greek Painters – 20th Century, Athens, 1976, vol. 2, no. 26, p. 363, illustrated
Cleanthi-Christina Valkana, Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika, His Paintings, Benaki Museum, Athens 2011 [2012], p. 302, fig. 386
Ntora Iliopoulou-Rogan, N. Hadjikyriakos - Ghika. The Apollonian - The Dionysian, 1906 – 1994, Benaki Museum, Athens, 2006, p. 42, cited; p. 48-49, illustrated

Catalogue Note

The subjects and style of much of Ghika's work as well as his position as a leading figure of the Thirties Generation was a celebration of Greek culture and history; he drew his inspiration from ancient Mediterranean civilizations first and foremost, with Far Eastern art, Byzantine mosaics and Cubism also holding great importance to the artist.

In the present work, Ghika transforms a city view into a labyrinth of geometrical shapes and colours. City walls, streets and trees are all juxtaposed on the same plane defying three-dimensionality and logic, in a game of sinuous and vibrant lines that intertwine towards the sky. This Byzantine and Cubist-inspired aesthetic is a familiar idiom in the oeuvre of Ghika, but his distinctively poetic geometry is cast aside for an even more emotional and directly descriptive rendering.

Beginning and ending his life in Greece, Nikos Hadjikiriakos-Ghika began his artistic scholarship under Konstantinos Parthenis in Athens, relocating to Paris to enrol at the Sorbonne, the Ranson Academy and the studio of Dimitris Galanis. This erudite, well-travelled and sophisticated background would nourish a hungry mind, open to the concept of an analytic and mathematical form of modernism. This rupture with the time-honoured tradition of the Munich School nevertheless was represented by a predominantly Parisian modernist movement, infused in theme, subject or spirit by a distinctively Hellenic character. This visual vocabulary owed much to the methodical teaching of Parthenis, with its emphasis on geometric principles, and to the Byzantine art that Ghika cherished, incorporating its 'strictness, the geometric, hierarchy,' and the work of artistic luminaries of the Parisian modernist enclave such as Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque (in Marina Lambraki-Plaka, ed., Four Centuries of Greek Painting, Athens, 1999, p. 139).