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Theodoros Stamos (1922-1997)
Property of an Important Private American Collection
Theodoros Stamos (1922-1997)

Baalbek Terrace I

Details
Theodoros Stamos (1922-1997)
Baalbek Terrace I
signed twice, titled and dated ‘STAMOS “BAALBEK TERRACE” I 1959 STAMOS’ (on the stretcher)
oil on canvas
66 x 81 in. (167.6 x 205.7 cm.)
Painted in 1959.
Provenance
André Emmerich Gallery, New York
M. Knoedler Gallery, Zürich
Kouros Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Literature
B. Cavaliere and T. Wolff, et. al., Theodoros Stamos: Works from 1945-1984, Zürich, 1984, pp. 126-127, no. 35 (illustrated).
Exhibited
New York, The American Federation of Arts, Explorers of Space, October 1961-May 1962, no. 28.
New York, Louis K. Meisel Gallery, Theodoros Stamos, Paintings 1958-1960, April 1981 (illustrated on the cover).
Zürich, M. Knoedler Gallery, Theodoros Stamos: Works from 1945-1984, June-August 1984, p. 127 (illustrated).
New York, Kouros Gallery, Stamos, April-May 1986, p. 15 (illustrated).

Lot Essay

Baalbek Terrace I, with its balance of vitality and tranquility, is characteristic of Theodoros Stamos’s signature painterly energy: the artist gives depth and light to the painting by skillfully applying endless layers of paint. The atmospheric gray, which dominates the center of the composition, transforms into a ghostly translucent veil that gently envelops the canvas. The purple and the red, asymmetrically applied to the right and left sides of the canvas, harmoniously mingle and dissolve into an underlying stratum. This painting of an immense size invites silent contemplation: multiple layers suggest multi-layered meaning.

The surface of Baalbek Terrace I is dominated by Stamos’ rapid brushwork, almost tactile and three-dimensional: it is a classic example of the energetic style that was epitomized in the feathered colored fields of iconic Abstract Expressionists, such as Mark Rothko. An art historian Barbara Cavalieri, explains: “Like the others among the small group of painters who evolved in New York City during the 1940s, Stamos strives to communicate metempirical content through the painterly medium. He abhors sheer decoration, and he denies the diaristic as an end. His paintings always begin from the most personal approach and, through the painting process, aim at transforming his innermost emotions into an expression of the timeless qualities which unite human experience. It is this goal which unites Stamos with his generation, and it is the individualist starting point that they share which defines Stamos’ difference from them. His self-identification with the pictures breathes from within the works themselves, and Stamos’ unique character infuses them with a nature and touch that is his alone” (B. Cavaliere, Theodoros Stamos: Paintings 1958-1960, exh. cat., Louis K. Meisel Gallery, New York, 1981, n.p.)

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