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Chatting



Solomos [SOLON] Frangoulides (1902-1981)
Chatting
Oil on plywood
AGLC 551 @ A.G Leventis Gallery

Solomos Frangoulides studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts from 1924 to 1930, and from 1925 he worked in Georgios Iakovidis’ studio. The prevailing climate in the Athens School during his studies and Iakovidis’ teachings exerted a decisive influence on his orientation and his artistic choices, especially up until 1947, the year when he returned to Cyprus to settle there permanently. His contact with nature in the Cypriot countryside, the continuous observation and study of its mutations and its relationship with the varying intensities and the character of the light relieved him of many restrictions, leading him to an even freer expression. However, it was the skills he acquired from his contact with his teacher that characterised him until the very end of his career as an artist: his flawless technique and solid drawing, the organised structure of the composition and the colour harmony.

Even though the work in the A. G. Leventis Gallery Collection is not dated, it is obvious that it belongs to the first period of Frangoulides’ artistic output and was made during his studies or in the period immediately after their completion. The theme of Chatting is clearly influenced by artists of the School of Munich, such as Nikephoros Lytras and Nikolaos Gyzis, whose work Frangoulides had studied thoroughly. It is interesting to compare this oil painting with two works from the Greek Collection of the A. G. Leventis Gallery: The Orphan Girl (1876) by Lytras and Neighbours by Gyzis (c. 1880). This particular work by Frangoulides is unique in terms of his artistic output, since he did not reprise similar themes. He depicted a group of four women talking to each other while busy spinning and spooling cotton thread. Next to them, on a small rug, two young children are blithely playing. It is a scene from the daily life of a world inhabited by the women of a working-class family – as indicated by the décor of the room and the women’s apparel. This genre painting does not belong to the era of its creator, but may be placed in 19th-century Greece. Frangoulides defined his subject matter descriptively and realistically. The scene takes place in an enclosed space and is rendered using heavy, dark colours. The theatrical lighting focuses on the two central main figures. The composition is organised diagonally, with the viewer’s gaze being led from the bottom left of the painting, where the two young children are, to the top right. The sensitive choice of colours of the work constitutes a dialogue between cool and warm colours.

 

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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).

More paintings of the artist
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