MT: silver print on paper mounted on card and glazed within original frame (23x17 / C:34x24 / F:44x35x3)
TX: signed with pencil at lower left of border in English <Geo. Boucas>, inscribed with pen at lower center of border in French <To Monsieur / W. H. Crawfurd Price / with expressions of my best sentiments / and my very high esteem / Athens the 30[th] May 1947 / A. Papagos>, stamped with studio-seal at lower right <GEO / Boucas / ATHENS>
CM: This is a full-length formal portrait photograph of future Field Marshall and later Prime Minister Alexander Papagos (1883–1955) taken by renowned photographer Geo Boucas in Athens, and later signed by Papagos on 30 May 1947. Papagos is in full formal military dress standing for the portrait sometime before the German invasion to Greece in 1941. This photograph happens to be a scarce and interesting visual and documented convergence of Greek History. The print matting is signed "A. Papagos" with a personal note, in French, to Walter Harrington Crawfurd Price, the noted Times War Correspondent and Author who covered Greece and the Balkans from 1910 through the 1920's. The mat is also signed on the bottom left of the photo by Geo Boucas. The logo from his studio on Philhellénes Street in Athens [GEO BOUCAS ATHENS] is embossed into the lower right corner. While Boucas died in 1941, this photo must have been kept for some time by Papagos before signing and dating it for Crawfurd Price.
Born in Athens, Alexander Papagos was a Greek Field Marshal who led the Greek Army in the Greco-Italian War, the later stages of the Greek Civil War, founded the Greek Rally Party (Ellinikos Synagermos) and became the country's Prime Minister. He studied at the Brussels Military Academy and Calvary School in Ypres and joined the Greek Army as a lieutenant in 1906. In the First Balkan War he served as a junior officer on the General Staff of King Constantine. A dedicated Royalist, he was commissioned and de-commissioned several times over the succeeding years depending upon which faction was in power in Greece at the time. In 1927 he was returned to service with the grade of Major General. He was then promoted to Lieutenant General and later Corps Commander in 1934. In October 1935, as a Lieutenant General and Chief of the Army, along with the chiefs of the Navy and the Air Force, he helped topple the government of Panagis Tsaldaris and declared the restoration of the monarchy. During the Second World War, Papagos successfully led the resistance to the Italian invasion, but the divided Greek army eventually succumbed to the German invasion on 6 April 1941, Greek forces in Macedonia fiercely resisted the German offensive, but were outflanked and Papagos endorsed their surrender. Soon after the Army of Epirus capitulated and by 23 April the Greek government was forced to flee to Crete . Papagos remained behind and in July 1943, together with other generals, he was arrested and sent to concentration camps in Germany. In 1945 he was repatriated, rejoined the Army and reached the rank of full General in 1947. On 29 January 1949 he was once again appointed Commander-in-Chief, to defeat the Communists in the Greek Civil War, which he achieved, with extensive American aid, the deployment of Special Forces (LOK). As a reward, he, alone of all Greek career officers, was promoted to Field Marshal on 28 October 1949. In May 1951 he resigned from the Army, as to become involved in politics. He founded the Greek Rally (Ellinikos Synagermos) and won the September elections with only 35% of the vote, largely due to his popularity, his image as a strong and determined leader, and extensive American support. Despite this victory, Papagos was unable to form a government, and had to wait until the elections on 16 November 1952, when, with a change in the electoral system, he gained 239 out of 300 seats in Parliament. Papagos' government successfully strived to modernize Greece (where the young and energetic Minister of Public Works, Constantine Karamanlis, first distinguished himself) and restore the economy of a country ruined by 10 years of war, but he did little to restore social harmony in a country still scarred from the civil war. The Athens suburb of Papagou, where the Ministry of Defence is located, is named after him.
Walter Harrington Crawfurd Price was a noted war correspondent being a Balkan's specialist for the London Times. The Balkans had been ruled by the Austro-Hungarian empire from 1867 until its defeat at the close of the First World War (1914 - 1918). The Versailles peace treaties defined a new pattern of state boundaries in the Balkans, and the Kingdom of Serbs , Croats and Slovenes was founded in 1918. Crawfurd Price stayed in the Balkans and Greece following the war and his diaries and books document the struggles in this area during the turbulent 1920s. See: W.H. Crawfurd Price, The Balkan Cockpit: The Political and Military Story of the Balkan Wars in Macedonia 1914 T. Werner Laurie Ltd., London, also, The Dawn of Armageddon; Tangiers Visit; Light on the Balkans, and seven other books on the Balkans in the 1910-1920s including his published diaries: Diary of Crawfurd Price, Journalist 1920-1922.
[Megakles Rogakos 06/2006]
XANTHAKIS, ALKIS George Boucas: The Great Portraitist of the Inter-Wars Period 01-02/1996 Opticon #31, Athens