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New Philadelphia, before 1947



Solomos [SOLON] Frangoulides (1902-1981)
New Philadelphia, before 1947
oil on canvas laid on hardboard
AGLC 550 @ A.G Leventis Gallery

Landscape painting comprises a large part of Solomos Frangoulides’ subject matter. The rendering of the landscape concerned him from his years at art school until his death. The painting New Philadelphia belongs to the artist’s first artistic period, which extends from the end of his studies in 1930 up to 1947, when he settled permanently in Cyprus. In the works of this early period, which were painted in Greece, the influence of his teacher, Georgios Iakovidis, is clearly apparent.

It is assumed that this composition in the A. G. Leventis Gallery Collection was painted around the mid-1940s, when Frangoulides’ colours became brighter. This is a work which falls under the category of plein air painting, in which we can identify all the enduring characteristics of Frangoulides’ style, that is to say, the flawless drawing, the classical structure of the composition, the emphasis on technique and the harmony of the form and colours. The composition was built up through the expert gradation of colour tones. As the painter informed us in his autobiography, he would first draw a draft in charcoal from nature, on which he would work the tonalities of the colours in great detail. Then, after he had solved all the problems to do with the work’s colouring, basing himself on the drawing he would work with oils in his studio, translating each tone of the blackand- white drawing into colour, with light-handed, fresh brushstrokes reminiscent of painting from nature. Frangoulides’ tonal painting smoothly transports us from the darker to the lighter surfaces through the harmonious alternation of cool and warm tones, so as to create a play of gentle light, which lends the composition peace and tranquillity.

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About the artist

He studied at the School of Arts (later known as the School of Fine Arts) in Athens from 1924 to 1930 under Georgios Iakovidis, Nikos Lytras, Spyridon Vikatos and Pavlos Mathiopoulos. He remained in Athens until 1947, where he worked as a draughtsman. During the period from 1932 to 1934 he painted the icons for the church of the village of Agros in Cyprus. From 1947 onwards he lived in Cyprus. His themes include landscapes, portraits, still lifes and certain compositions that deal mainly with social issues. He also practised icon painting. The consistent characteristics of his painting are flawless drawing, faith in technique and a balanced composition. In his landscapes, which dominate his choice of subject matter, he began from plein air painting and proceeded to master the teachings of the Impressionists, especially with regard to the permutations of nature under the influence of light. He displayed his work in solo exhibitions in Athens (1936, 1937, 1976), Cyprus (1953, 1966, 1974, 1977) and London (1972), and in many group shows. He was awarded the silver medal at the Biennale Internazionale d’Arte Sacra in Foggia, Italy (1972).

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