Gala Auction 2007
Undeniably one of Albania’s foremost painters, Guri Madhi was recognized at an early age as a gifted artist. In 1950, Madhi was awarded a scholarship to study at the Academy of Fine Art in Leningrad. Upon returning to Albania, Madhi became one of the first instructors at the Art Lyceum and then a professor at the Academy of Fine Art. In 1988, while in Budapest, Guri Madhi died unexpectadly at the age of 67. Throghout his career, Madhi sought to guide budding talent and reveal the heroic Albanian spirit.
In Pioneer : Ready for School, Evelin (the niece of the artist’s wife), a young school girl with long,dark braids, sits reading a book in front of a window. Behind her a tree bursts forth in full flower. The girl’s body is still, captivated by the words she holds in her hands. Conversely, Madhi’s quick brush work in the treatment of the flowers , contrasted by swathes of white encircling the girl’s head like a halo, reflects the frenetic exuberance of her young mind. She is a pioneer, forging ahead discovering new places and people, through intellectual exercise.
Painted shortly after his appointment to the Jordan Misja Art Lyceum, Madhi explores the dichotomy between an active artistic imagination and an official façade. The girl’s school uniform represents the conformity demanded by the state; however, the window and the impressionistic landscape beyond symbolize intellectual escape.
Author : Ashley Olters, art researcher, U.S.A.