DiscoverHow Christoforos Savva Charmed Heatherley

How Christoforos Savva Charmed Heatherley

Cypria’s Fine Arts Sale boasts a strong collection of head-turning works – along with two works by Christoforos Savva, which carve out their own niche in Savva’s slate of paintings.

14 Evrou Street, Strovolos, Nicosia

Christoforos Savva, Untitled, c.1952
Oil on canvas
91 x 61 cm, 94 x 63 cm with frame
EST € 18 000 – 30 000

Roddy Maude-Roxby, British performing artist, painter and actor, met Christoforos Savva in 1951 at Heatherley, one of London’s oldest Fine Art Schools. He and Savva became friends sharing the same attitude towards life and art. Roddy introduced Savva to his brother, Christopher Maude-Roxby, who bought two paintings from Savva. These paintings, Still Life and Untitled are among Savva’s most stunning and authentic works.

Savva Moxby
Christopher Maude-Roxby (right) staging a comical bargaining scene with Savva. Roddy Maude-Roxby has captured the moment on camera.

Playfulness and Composition

“For me, playfulness is the top quality and it is something that allows you to use something half-finished if you want and that’s okay. This is predominant in many of Savva’s paintings. And he is making those lines, obvious lines, dividing up the painting into diagonals because he is looking for the idea of making a sustainable composition but it is also very playful.” (Roddy Maude-Roxby)

Roddy Maude-Roxby shares some of his memories of Savva with Cypria Auctions:

“His work was very fresh to us because he had this naïve style, he painted like a child. He would invent landscapes and figures, which came from his memory of Cyprus, and also his own view of the paintings of Matisse and Picasso.”

As with every transformation era, the post-war London art scene, from 1950 through to 1965, was in artistic discourse with itself, embracing movements like modernism, dadaism, and pop art, keenly experimenting with artistic metaphors. The words of Picasso, that it took him a lifetime to paint like a child, echoed through the era with the same existential fervor that did the cubism he helped to invent. Never losing touch with the inner child, had become every artist’s pursuit.

Heatherly was taken with Savva.

“We would watch him paint a live model or a still life he had set up and some pieces would be quite wrong or much too big or something like that … would he change them? No! He would continue to paint and paint and we were delighting in that he had a very good eye for shape and colour; a lot of that was coming naturally to him and I would say there was something of a child in his painting.”

Moxby Savva
Roddy Maude-Roxby (left) and Christoforos Savva posing in front of their paintings at a joint exhibition in Nicosia, in 1954. The exhibition was visited by Archbishop Makarios who, though well-versed in English, insisted on speaking with Roddy through an interpreter.

The May 24 Evening Auction

Cypria’s Fine Arts Auction emphasizes contemporary art but still offers 18th through to 21st-century pieces and rare books that help make it a diverse sale. “Being different makes it more interesting,” says Ritsa Kyriacou, Cypria’s Managing Director. The auction will take place on Wednesday, 24th May at the Cypria Gallery in Nicosia.

The two stunning paintings by Christoforos Savva (1924-1968), Still Life (EST € 15 000 – 25 000), and Untitled (EST € 18 000 – 30 000) are the star attractions of the auction for their quality and bold use of colour.

Auction Highlights include Mythological Nude Dancers I and II, 1991, two monumental mosaic pieces by George Kotsonis (b. 1940) each carrying an estimate of (€ 8 000 – 20 000). Kotsonis is known for his mastery of the mosaic technique and his love of mythological and epic themes. The Mythological Nude Dancers were commissioned in 1991 by the Palm Beach Hotel in Larnaca.

Dancing Nudes

Nude Dancers

The auction brings to the market 150 lots. They represent various artistic movements and players across Greek, Cypriot and European Art such as Zoe Zengelis, Andreas Charalambides, Apostolos Yayannos, Stelios Votsis, Renos Loizou, Spyros Vassiliou, Tasos Stephanides Alexandros Alexandrakis, Dimitros Biskinis, Nikolaos Chimonas, Stefanos Daskalakis, Lefteris Economou, Fassianos, Angelos Giallina, Nikos Hadjikyriakos Ghika, Fotos Hadjosoteriou, Victor Ioannides, George Kotsonis, Nikos Kouroussis, Stelios Miliadis, Papanelopoulos, Stass Paraskos, Spyridon Scarvelli, George Skotinos, Epaminondas Thomopoulos, Theofrastos Triantafyllidis, and more.

The entire collection will remain on display until the 24th of May at Gallery K (Lots 1-146) and Polychoros Entipis (Lots 147-150).

The sale will also be live-streamed worldwide through the international art sale platform &

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