Opening of museum on the work of Spyros Vassileiou

Webster Street, a small, quiet lane just off the slopes of the Acropolis resonates with something of the flavor of old Athens. This is perhaps because it’s in the vicinity of the Acropolis, or because of the street’s few houses built in the neoclassical style, or the total absence of stores. Somehow this is a part of Athens with something of an old-time flavor to it. It is therefore appropriate that this is where Spyros Vassileiou – the painter who painted Athens with a sense of urban serenity and nostalgia – lived for many years, first during his student years in the mid-1920s at the Athens School of Fine Arts and later in a house across the street as a married man and established painter. The house he shared with his wife Kiki Vassileiou, which also served as the painter’s studio, will now open as a museum for his work. The proposal was made by the painter’s family (both Spyros and Kiki Vassileiou have passed away) and was supported by the Ministry of Culture. «The Atelier of Spyros Vassileiou» – which is to be the name of the museum – opens on a festive note on the first day of Lent (this coming Monday). The inaugural exhibition, unusual but timely, presents photographs of Vassileiou and his friends partying at the house on Clean Monday. The choice is symbolic for this is the day of the year that Vassileiou and his wife celebrated with all-day festivities that were famous in the artistic and intellectual circles of the time. Live performances, invitations that included a different costume theme each year, dance and music, Karaghiozis puppet-theater performances, as well as traditional food were all part of the party that the Vassileiou couple hosted each year. The cheerful mood of the exhibition suits the image of Spyros Vassileiou, who is known as one of the most popular and beloved artists in 20th century Greek art. A prolific painter, Vassileiou rendered images that blended urban reality with tradition and raised daily habits into significance. His «Atelier» will reveal the scope of his work through temporary exhibitions. «Atelier of Spyros Vassileiou,» 5A Webster Street, opening Feb. 23 from 12-8 p.m.