A retrospective exhibition dedicated to one of the most popular visual artists of 20th-century Greece, Yannis Moralis (1916-2009), will be hosted at the Benaki Museum (Pireos str. building), from 20 September 2018 to 5 January 2019, featuring paintings, sculptures, architectural sketches, record covers, and book illustrations.
The exhibition is co-organised through an unprecedented partnership between the Benaki Museum, the National Gallery – Alexandros Soutsos Museum, the National Bank of Greece Cultural Foundation and Zoumboulakis Galleries, with the support of the painter’s family, in an effort to shed light on the artist’s progress from one decade to the other, bringing unknown facets of his life and work to the forefront. It will be accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue and various parallel events (display of audiovisual material, lectures and educational activities).
The year 2016 had been named The Year of Yiannis Moralis by the by the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports, in celebration of the completion of 100 years since his birth. Moralis was not only a pioneer painter but also a talented print-maker and theatre set designer, and inspiring academic teacher. All the aspects of his rich career will be highlighted in the exhibition, curated by Nikolaos Paisios, scientific advisor at the Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika Gallery which forms part of the Benaki Museum Collections.
Yannis Moralis is one of the most distinguished 20th century Greek artists and part of the so-called “Generation of the ’30s”, a group of Greek artists most active after World War II, who combined folk and modern artistic elements in the quest for “Greekness”. Moralis’ influences ranged from Greek art and Byzantine iconography to neoclassicism, romanticism and realism.
He was a graduate of the Athens School of Fine Arts (1931-6), where he became a teacher in 1947. In 1949, he had formed – with other prominent Greek artists such as Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas, Yiannis Tsarouchis, and Panayiotis Tetsis – the “Armos” art group. Until his retirement in 1983, nine out of ten professors at the School of Fine Arts had been his students.
Moralis held nine solo exhibitions in Greece and took part in a various group exhibitions and international events, including the Panhellenic exhibitions (1940, 1948, 1952), the Venice Biennale (1958, with Yannis Tsarouchis) and Europalia (Brussels, 1982). He received several prizes, including the Pan-Hellenic Exhibition (1940) Painting Award and the Gold Medal for Tapestry at the International Handicrafts Fair in Munich (1973). He was decorated by the Greek state with the Order of the Phoenix in 1965 and the Order of Honor in 1999.
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