Theodoros Stamos - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session New York Wednesday, May 16, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    The Estate of Sonja de Zorrilla
    Christie's, New York, November 11, 2004, lot 105
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    Theodoros Stamos’ The Reward, 1957 is an emblematic example of his work from a period in the 1950s in which he began investigating a new approach to Abstraction informed by East Asian aesthetics. One of the seminal members of the Abstract Expressionist movement alongside fellow luminaries like Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko, Stamos had already received significant critical acclaim by the 1940s, having had his first exhibition at Betty Parsons’ Wakefield Gallery and Workshop in 1943. Stamos' paintings from the 1940s reflect his in-depth exploration of color. Although the palette was an important aspect, these first works focused on biomorphic imagery, imitating geological shapes.

    However, during the 1950s, Stamos took his practice in a new direction – starting with calligraphic brushwork and geometric forms, his work began to derive its power and efficacy through a sort of economy of means, focusing less on the specific gestures and elevating color to its most powerful and evocative level. Thus, color is preponderant, is the subject itself. Here, Stamos masterfully manipulates delicate taupes, fiery reds, oceanic blues, and deep, inky blacks with his palette knife to wonderful effect and compositional splendor. A novel aspect in the The Reward is the sense of light and the ethereal feel of its delicate modulated surface. For Stamos, the purpose was to create a composition drawn from nature, with a universal spirit that provokes an emotional response from viewers.

Property from an Important American Collection


The Reward

signed "Stamos" lower left; further signed, titled and dated "Stamos The Reward 57" on the reverse
oil on canvas
45 x 50 in. (114.3 x 127 cm.)
Painted in 1957.

$150,000 - 250,000 

Sold for $275,000

Contact Specialist
John McCord
Head of Day Sale, Morning Session
New York
+1 212 940 1261

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session

New York Auction 16 May 2018