CULTURE

Small retrospective honors Greek artist

A small exhibition that gives an idea of the work of the late artist George Mavroides is being held at the Historical Archives of the Museum of Hydra, one of the island’s most important cultural institutions. Selected from a former exhibition on the artist’s work held at the Benaki Museum in Athens, 60 works in total span the artist’s career from his early paintings in the 1920s up to 2003. It also includes mementos, photographs of the artist and friends, as well as a documentary film made by Stavros Stratigakos on the life of the painter. George Mavroides was one of the artists of the so-called Thirties generation, which includes names such as Yiannis Moralis, Yiannis Tsarouchis, Nikos Nikolaou, Nikos Hadzikyriakos-Ghika and other contemporaries. In general, this was a generation that is noted for combining modern art with a search for a Greek cultural identity. Like several of those artists, Mavroides was inspired by aspects of Greek art and tradition but what is more typical of his work is an expressionistic, painterly style, typified by broad, nervous brushstrokes. He was interested in various themes, mainly portraits and the human figure, as well as still lifes and landscapes. Contrary to other painters of his generation, Mavroides began working as a professional painter rather late in life and was in his early 40s when he had his first solo exhibition, followed a few years later by his participation at the Biennale of Sao Paolo. Born in Cyprus in 1912, he studied law and political science in Athens and later joined the diplomatic corps. In the 1950s, he was sent to Paris where he became an active member of the Greek artistic milieu. In 1959, he quit the diplomatic corps to become fully involved with art. An acknowledged artist by that time, he participated in various international exhibitions and in the mid-1970s became director for the Athens School of Fine Arts at which he later became the first rector. Throughout his life, Mavroides was also a writer and poet. A man with wide-ranging intellectual and artistic concerns, he is remembered as one of the most important artists of his generation. Exhibition on George Mavroides at the Historical Archive of the Museum of Hydra (right off Hydra’s port, tel 22980.52355) through October 24.