Foliage , 1952
Oil on cardboard
Signed and lower right
Annotated on the back,
Mayo Paris 1952
Dimensions: 61 x 46cm
With frame: 71 x 57 cm
Provenance: Philippe Noiret collection
Price: 1500 €
The painter depicts a virgin forest in which the viewer is called upon to get lost. The frontality of the curtain of greenery is only apparent: when we examine it in more detail, the curtain crumbles and comes off in a multitude of sheets, like so many hands ready to catch the spectator. The tones are ocher, green, white. The painting, almost abstract, demonstrates that it represents an object of reality thanks to the painter, who depicts two trunks in transparency.
Antoine Malliarakis dit Mayo was born in Port Said, Egypt, to a French mother and a Greek father. Painter, illustrator, theater designer, surrealist, he studied in Alexandria then left his native country for France at the age of 19. In the capital in 1924, he met Man Ray, Tristan Tzara, Robert Desnos… and discovered the Paris of Montparnasse.
He meets André Breton, but avoids joining the surrealist movement to maintain his freedom as a painter. He experienced his first successes in 1929, when he exhibited at the Galerie des Quatre Chemins with De Chirico. In addition to his activity as a painter, he made a career of decorating fashionable cafés and decorating plays (for Marcel Duhamel, Les Hauts de Hurlevent, he collaborates with Christian Bérard and Boris Kochno for the costumes and sets Roland Petit, creates the costumes for Les Enfants du Paradis, etc. ). He travels to Greece, Spain, settles in Rome and returns to France in 1985.
• Exhibition catalog Mayo Museum of Decorative Arts
• Bénézit, “Mayo, Antoine pseudonym of Malliarakis” Oxford Library online, 31 oct. 2011
• In Paris: Center George Pompidou-museum of modern art; CNAP (national center of plastic arts). In France: Greuze Museum in Tournus,