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Collecting Carob Pods, 1955



Costas Economou (b 1925) (0-0)
Collecting Carob Pods, 1955
Oil on plywood
AGLC 466 @ A.G Leventis Gallery

Before going on to study in London, Costas Economou received his first lessons in painting at the Morphou Teachers’ College from Adamantios Diamantis, who influenced him with regard both to his subject matter and his style. Later, his studies and his friendship with Christoforos Savva led him to explore other artistic vocabularies, such as Expressionism, Fauvism and Cubism.

In this early work, Economou depicted a scene from farming life: the carob harvest, one of the most important seasonal farm jobs, which gave work to men as well as women. The painting was made in 1955, at a time when carob exports offered a significant income to Cyprus. Economou conveyed the scene with realistic faithfulness, yet at the same time with divergences that serve the aesthetic negotiation of the subject. He simplified, schematised and enriched his colours with distinction, for the sake of pictorial values. The result is a happy composition featuring the rhythmic interchange between cool and warm colours, which transform a laborious task into a colourful celebration of life. The landscape and scenes from people’s daily lives, filtered through his personal vision, remain to this day at the heart of Economou’s subject matter.

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About the artist

He studied at the Morphou Teachers’ College and then at King Alfred’s College (1956-1957) in Winchester, England, as well as at the Institute of Education of the University of London (1972-1973). During the same period, he attended evening painting classes at the Saint Martin’s School of Art in London. He worked in education as a teacher and, as of 1970, as an art inspector. His chosen fields are painting, printmaking and reliefs, and his subject matter includes mostly landscapes and scenes from daily life. He also painted portraits and nudes. The bulk of his work consists of landscapes in oil, acrylic and watercolour. In terms of style, he gravitated towards the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist movements. For some of his works he used forms of Expressionism, Fauvism and Cubism. Beginning in 1962 he showed his work in 18 solo exhibitions in Cyprus and in group exhibitions in Cyprus, Prague, Budapest, Bucharest, Sofia, Paris, Moscow, Kuwait and Beijing.

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