Wednesday, November 19, 2008


This oil on canvas by Greek painter Constantin Volanakis (1837-1907) is an oil on canvas measuring 146 by 219cm. ( 57½ by 86¼in.) and was executed to celebrate the arrival in 1827 of the fledgling Greek navy and one of its commanders, Georgios Karaiskakis, on the shores of Faliro, near Piraeus, in preparation for the campaign to liberate Athens from Ottoman rule.

Volanakis was a Greek painter, one of the top of 19th century. Born to a rich family, he went to Trieste, Italy, in 1856 where he took up painting. He studied in the Munich Academy. Known as the bard of the Greek sea, he is one of the main representatives of the Munich School Greek artistic movement of the 19th century. He died in 1907. His works are today exhibited in major museums in Greece and abroad.

This picture fetched the high price of 1,609,250 GBP ($2,41 million) in November 2008 on auction at Sotheby's London. This level is justified by the fact that never before offered at auction, The Arrival of Karaiskakis at Faliro, is the most important work by the artist to appear on the international art market. Most historical works by Volanakis of this scale and importance are in museums, institutions and corporate collections, making this painting one of the few examples still in private hands.

Furthermore it illustrates the determination of the Greek people in their fight for independence and had remained for a very long time in the same hands. It was bought by an anonymous bidder and one can safely guess that he was a rich Greek collector.

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