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 Theofilos Hadjimichail  (1871 - 1933)

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Lived/Active: Greece      Known for: painting

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BIOGRAPHY for Theofilos Hadjimichail


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Biography from Bonhams Bond Street:
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A top class Theophilos that belonged to the collection of the distinguished Greek composer Loris Margaritis (1894-1953) who, along with Nobel laureates G. Seferis and O. Elytis, professors D. Evangelidhes and A. Katakouzinos, art critic A. Xydis, the poet A. Embirikos and the painter N. Chadjikyriakos-Ghika organised the seminal 1947 Theofilos retrospective at the British Council in Athens, one of the most important and influential exhibitions of Modern Greek art ever mounted.1 The Bonhams picture was painted on the artist's native island of Mytilene, to which Theofilos had returned in 1926-27 following a forty-year odyssey. There, as noted by N. Matsas, he "enjoyed a very creative and prolific period, during which he painted some of his best works."2 A similar painting (with no sheep and the peasant woman holding a sickle instead of a shepherd's crook), owned by the renowned art critic and patron E. Teriade, was exhibited in the Louvre in 1961.3 Around 1929, Teriade met with Theofilos in Mytilene and made a deal with him to paint portable works on canvas in return for a small compensation that would allow him to make a humble living and pay for his painting materials. Thanks to this arrangement, Theofilos's imaginary universe, which was crystallised on the walls of village houses and shops around Mt. Pelion, came back to life in a new and delightful manifestation. As noted by G. Samourkas, "the artist's Mytilene period, which lasted eight years until his passing in 1934, is his most mature; his designs became more confident, his colours warmer, his compositions more structured, his backdrops more embellished and his colour combinations more elegant."4 1. See A. Xydis, The Discovery of Theofilos [in Greek], Kathimerini newspaper - EptaImeres, 20.3.1994, p. 12. 2. N. Matsas, The Tale of Theofilos [in Greek], Estia publ., Athens 1978, p. 153. 3. See O. Elytis, The Painter Theofilos [in Greek], Asterias editions, Athens 1973, p. 54; P. Zoiopoulos, Theofilos the Ingenious Looney [in Greek], Armos editions, Athens 2008, p. 63. 4. G. Samourkas, Twelve Folk Painters [in Greek], Athens 1974, p. 90.

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