Hello, my name is Thanos Evangelinos, and I am an expert in Modern Greek Art.
An introduction such as this should be a simple thing, and yet, that is not the case. Most people who hear “Greek Art” visualise neoclassical Athens and coins with the helmeted profile of Pericles, not an IFAA expert in an office in Thessaloniki, turning a pebble in his hand and studying scribbles on it, only to brighten considerably because he discovered a work by the noted poet Yannis Ritsos.
That the average non-Greek thinks of Greek art as marble columns and friezes is not his fault; although ancient Greece holds a prominent place in the global curricula, modern Greece is hardly ever mentioned; the trials and tribulations of this corner of Earth, as it navigated the 19th and 20th century are rarely mentioned.
They were meaningful though: with the 19th century, there dawned Greek Independence; Hellenes have spent the past two centuries in a state of constant upheaval; first fighting to secure their territory, then fighting to preserve it against numerous invaders. Amidst all this, industrializing, dealing with fear, famine, mass emigration, and wars.
Amidst all these, there is Greek Art.
It is Art and as such is “the lie which enables us to realize the truth” according to Pablo Picasso. But it is also Greek, and as such particular: it has been grown on the ragged terrain of a weather-beaten country which poets have lauded for the exceptional quality of its light. It has fed on antiquity even as modernity intruded and cast long shadows upon the ancient monuments. To Greek art belongs the sacred task of showing the intrinsic contradictions that Greece is and has been. To Greek art belongs the sacred task of educating Europe about the truth behind the ancient ideals.
And so, we must ask: What truth is this? What do we see through this looking-glass?
In my humble opinion, Greek Art strips away the superficial layers of modernity to expose the earthen and timeless aspirations of Man. It reiterates the old saying that to the right man, every hardship can be an opportunity, and every soul can be kindled and fired. Just look at a Pervolakis, a Kanas, or a Pheidakis: will you ever see the same way again? Or will your soul be, in its own way, swept away like a dam on a river of emotion?
I don’t know about yours, but it certainly has been the case for mine:
25+ years of my life I have devoted to the many artists of the 19th and 20th century, greater and lesser. From London and from Thessaloniki, through the good years and the bad years, my passion has not abated, nor do I expect that it will. In the year 2016, Hellenic Auctions organised its 22nd “Greek Sale”: proof of my passion, and of the fact that I am not alone in it.
In recent years, I have noticed that the crisis has heightened interest in Greek Art: noted economists always encourage individuals to invest in art, of course: it holds its value much better than most other currencies. But the flourishing of the sector is a testament to the incredible quality of the works available, which an increasing number of art-lovers and investors covet.
It is my hope that this auction house, aptly named Hellenic Auctions, can help.
Firstly, by making my many long years of expertise available to you in an advisory capacity: I can appraise your property, or help you find that special piece that you are desperately looking for. But I can also advise you, via this website, on topics as diverse as exporting your cultural property legally, and attending/participating in an auction.