NONDA (Epaminondas Papadopoulos 1922-2005)
Parisienne with Black Hat 1953 45x62cm
By the early fifties he had begun to accumulate a large body of work. He was suddenly called back to Greece to complete his military service, which with reluctance, he left Paris to attend to. In the army, with house paints and crude materials, he designed and painted a large stage set for a theater performance in the city of Jannina, in northern Greece, which was staged for officers and soldiers. The sensation created by his murals and set design was such that the camp general demanded his own portrait as well as others for officers and some of their children. Deeply depressed by life in the army, he wrote in a letter, “ Ah Paris! Pigalle, Montmarte, Place Blanche….my life is there!” From this desolate outpost, relying on memory alone, he painted a series of “Femmes Chapeautees” in their feathered hats and shaded eyes which captured all the somber drama of Paris, the painted women of the Moulin Rouge, the natural beauties in all their splendor as well as the tragic and drug addicted women of the night. These he exhibited in a small space lent to him in Jannina. When the power failed on opening night, he lit each portrait with a candle taken from the nearby cathedral. The flickering candlelight on the eyes of the “Femmes” was apparently so effective, the women’s eyes appeared to move with the light. He recreated the light installation for the show a year later in Athens. With these portraits behind him, he was given leave to Athens where he presented his first one man show in 1952 at the Parnassus Gallery. He exhibited a series of explicit nudes, violent, and highly erotic, crammed with images of Paris and its more liberated women, as well as the series of Femmes Chapeautées in the same year at the Zaharias gallery.
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