1502 – Lot 381: Nelly’s photographs
Elli Souyioulzoglou-Seraidari (Greece, 1899-1998). Photograph from the series of the Hungarian dancer Nikolska at the Acropolis ruins that made history. C1929. 53X37cm, signed ‘Nelly’s’ lower right.
Sold for €295 incl. premium
Elli Souyioultzoglou-Seraidari (1899 – 1998) (better known as Nelly’s) was a Greek photographer whose pictures of ancient Greek temples set against sea and sky backgrounds helped shape the visual image of Greece in the Western mind (or, in a critical reading, the West’s visual image of Greece in the Greek mind). She was born in Aidini, near Smyrna (now Izmir), Asia Minor. She went to study photography in Germany under Hugo Erfurth and Franz Fiedler, in 1920-1921, before the 1922 expulsion of the ethnic Greeks of Asia Minor by the Turks following the Greco-Turkish war (1919-1922). In 1924, she came to Greece, where she adopted a naive nationalistic and conservative approach to her work. Her style coincided with the Greek state’s need to produce an ideal view of the country and its people, for internal as well as external (tourism) purposes. In this respect Souyioultzoglou-Seraidari can be seen as the first Greek “national” advertiser, especially after her appointment as official photographer of the newly established Greek Ministry of Tourism. In 1929 she will become famous with the naked photos at the Acropolis ruins of Mona Paiva of the French Opera. A year later she will make photos of the Hungarian Nicolska in the same context. This time she will dress her up in transparent light fabrics to avoid a scandal. These pictures will make history, together with the series ‘Parallelisms’ where classical statues were juxtaposed and compared to modern greek peasants to show the biological continuation of the Greek race.