The dreaming house, c.1929-1931
Michael Economou was an outstanding figure in Greek art in the inter-War period. Although he had initially trained as a shipbuilding engineer in Paris, where he went in 1906, he later turned to painting, where he developed an entirely personal style, in spite of the influences of the French post-Impressionist painters which can be clearly seen in his work. He lived for 20 years in the French capital, though frequently visiting the interior of France, Brittany or the Mediterranean coast in the south - favourite destinations for French painters such as Cézanne and Matisse - but he also visited Algeria and Tunisia. He remained in France until 1926, when he returned to Greece. Oikonomou worked exclusively in landscape painting, which he rendered with marked temperament, which reflects a sui generis psychological make-up.
Dreaming House is one of the artist's most typical works, as it gives expression to his individual approach to the depiction of landscape. It belongs to the last period of his life (1929 - 1931), when he often visited Hydra. Although the beholder can recognise models from the life, he has to put into action intellectual powers to discover new equivalents in this art, which stiflingly fill the surface of the picture, as the subject often tends to overflow its bounds. Formalist stylisations in unified colour masses activate the space, as the surfaces, arranged in successive planes, clearly delimited by a clean outline, are reminiscent of works by the Synthetists. The dynamic function of expression of the colour, in spite of the fact that low tones are used - sensitive and soft tones which lend a certain lyricism - comes close to expressionist treatments, as the colour intensities are interwoven with the expression of feelings and emotions.