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Trikomo – The House of Dighenis, 1958



Lefteris Economou (1930-2007)
Trikomo – The House of Dighenis, 1958
oil on canvas
AGLC 464 @ A.G Leventis Gallery

Lefteris Economou held his first solo exhibition in London in 1955, immediately after the end of his studies. The subject matter of the works displayed in this exhibition centred on portraits, nudes and especially the world of labourers and toilers. The artist concentrated on the drawing. His palette was limited, while his predilection for tonal gradations and sombre colours was beginning to emerge.

In Trikomo – The House of Dighenis, which was painted in Cyprus in 1958, we can recognise the change in Economou’s style as a result of his contact with the qualitative features of Cypriot space. This canvas, together with others of the same period, marks the artist’s effort to perceive, to study and to render the singularity of the motherland. The painting was presented in 1960 at Economou’s first solo exhibition in Cyprus and depicts a view of the village of Trikomo, where the house of the leader of the National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters (E.O.K.A.) is visible. The slogans on the walls and the Greek flags introduce us to the climate of the time – the era of the anti-colonial struggle for the liberation of Cyprus.

In terms of its style, this oil painting in the A. G. Leventis Gallery Collection moves along the paths forged by Cézanne, that great teacher of the art of the 20th century who had a decisive influence on Economou. The main features of this work were also the starting point for Economou’s subsequent artistic career. Inspired by visual reality, the painter produced an autonomous artistic creation. The work’s drawing is without details, and its colour is freed of the subject’s external features, taking on a synthetical value. The artist’s attention shifted to the structural role of the form through the dominance of geometric types. The light is diffused throughout the painting, conveying the clarity of the atmosphere, while the rhythmical interchange of warm and cool colours builds the space and gives it perspective.

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About the artist

Lefteris Economou studied art in London, at St Martins School of Art (1949-1950), the John Cass School of Art (1950-1954) and Goldsmiths College of the University of London (1954-1955). In 1955 he was appointed as an art teacher in the high schools of Cyprus, a post he maintained until his retirement.   Economou first appeared on the art scene in 1952 when he took part in a group exhibition in London, and he remained consistently active in the art world thereafter. He was interested in all subjects, including landscape, portraiture, genre painting and still-life compositions, and his work reveals the strong influence of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. In some of his most important pieces, he synthesized free-form and precise shapes in a distinctive manner, fusing different styles of drawing. He wrote and illustrated books, which he published himself; he favoured large surfaces in his printmaking and also painted many large murals. His engravings are notable for their sharply drawn features and overall high quality.

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