Theophilos Hadjimichail

1873-1934

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Status, price and estimation of the artist Theophilos Hadjimichail

Price of a painting: 3,300 – 216,300 €.

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A Greek painter attached to traditions

Theophilos Hadjimichail was a contemporary Greek painter. His paintings illustrate the popular and sometimes even rural life of Greece. The traditions and history of his country are omnipresent subjects in the artist’s work. He was born in 1873 on the island of Lesbos and spent his childhood on this island which he cherished throughout his life, inspiring most of the subjects in his paintings. However, this man, often immersed in his daydreams, did not always have a career as a painter, since he worked at the consulate in Smyrna. Nevertheless, this city on the Aegean coast inspired him greatly because of its magnificent light, so particular, which the artist transcribes in his paintings.

At the age of 25, Hadjimichail decided to leave his island in order to reach Mount Pelion and then Volos. He then began to paint directly on the walls of houses, at the request of the owners, for a small fee, or even a simple meal. The decades he spent in this region were filled with solitude and wandering, but a highly developed inner world.

The naive style of a benevolent artist

Of unfailing patriotism, Hadjimichail was constantly dressed in traditional costume: the eurone with the pleated fustanelle. He was very fond of telling the story of his country, particularly the warlike exploits of Greece during the War of Independence which struck from 1821 until 1827, against the Turks who had occupied the territory since 1453. Although his style can be described as “naive”, the painter was always indulgent towards those who could not recognise his talent.

An internationally successful artist

He returned to his native island in 1927, after the liberation of Lesbos, and began a new phase in his painting, influenced by the famous art critic Tériade. The spontaneity of his canvases and the liveliness and freshness of his work are particularly evident in the vivid chromatic range of his palette.

The Mytilene Museum founded by Stratis Eletheriadisen in 1964 allows you to admire more than eighty of his paintings. Three years earlier, the Louvre had organised a major retrospective, thus consecrating the artist posthumously, as Hadjimichail had disappeared in 1934. Marginalized and sometimes mocked during his lifetime, the painter, gifted with great humility, was nevertheless able to capture the essence of the landscapes and people he painted with benevolence.

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