Thursday, March 22, 2018

Niko Ghika, John Craxton, and Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor and the allure of Greece - British Museum exhibition

John Craxton, Still life with three sailors 1980-1985 (detail) Tempera on canvass
I am still bogged down with other writing. Hopefully that is easing.

Interesting piece in Artdaily 21 March 2018, Exhibition explores the influence of Greece on the lives and work of three artists on a new exhibition at the British Museum this European spring. ,
Charmed lives in Greece: Ghika, Craxton, Leigh Fermor explores the influence of modern Greece on the lives and work of three influential artists, the Greek painter Niko Ghika, British painter John Craxton, and British writer Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor. The three met at the end of the Second World War and became enduring friends who all made their homes in Greece. The show brings together their artworks, photographs, letters and personal possessions in the UK for the first time.

It sounds like an interesting show about interesting subjects. I have given you the links to the Artdaily piece above and then the Wikipedia links to each of the three. If you are interested, I suggest you start with Artdaily and then go to the Wikipedia entries. From there, you can easily sidetrack into multiple directions!

 I have wondered before about the enduring love for Greece and the Greek Islands especially for writers and artists. In popular fiction, for example, Mary Stewart's thrillers The Moon-Spinners and My Brother Michael. The last includes a description of a hostel at Delphi occupied by archaeologists, artists and writers. The Australian writers George Johnson and Charmian Clift lived on the Greek island of Hydra for several years attracted by the low prices and other writers and artists. Johnson's Clean Straw for Nothing tells the story of a journalist (David Meredith) who relocates to a Greek island, but fails to find the answers he seeks after even 13 years.  

From my own trip, cheap wine, cheap cigarettes, cheap food, cheap rent, nice views and weather all provide  a possible answer. It's more than that, of course, for the romantic ideal of Greece is deeply entrenched in Western thinking.


Anonymous said...

My late stepmother had a taste for [nineteen]thirties toffs which just extended to PLF though he was a bit on the young side (eg, she had all the James Lees Milne diaries and an extensive Mitford sisters collection). After I gave her Artemia wotsername's biography of PLF she went right off him as a perrenial hobnobber and snob, showoff, sponger and general shit.

Well that's my paraphrase, as she's no longer around to give it in her own words.

Jim Belshaw said...

Laughs. I haven't read Artemis Cooper's bio, just a review, but she has seems to have found him a good thing if with those characteristics - except perhaps shit!