Municipal Gallery of Athens - Collection and Exhibitions

Collection and Exhibitions

"Although the Municipal Art Gallery was formerly housed in the charming building on Koumoundourou Square, designed by Panagiotis Kalkos - who also designed the old town hall in Kotzia Square - we decided to relocate to solve some serious problems," explains Gallery and Museum City of Athens Director Mrs. Nelli Kyriazis.

"It was unforgivable, in my opinion and the opinion of many art lovers, especially foreigners, that the Gallery has not been able to accommodate both permanent collections and temporary exhibitions in parallel. There was rotation, due to lack of space, so guests regularly ask why we do not have a permanent collection".

What Ms. Kyriazis finds particularly interesting are these former industrial sites now transformed into cultural sites. "Especially when hosting exhibitions of modern art, I think it fits content with container.”

The gallery will host periodic exhibitions as well as permanent collections. Initially though, it will present a permanent collection, after its first major exhibition, the gallery will then hold both permanent and temporary exhibitions concurrently.

The collection was set up in 1923 by their respective mayors and enlightened managers of the Municipal Gallery, as reported by Ms. Kyriazis, referring first to Papapanagiotou Stavros the first director then to Spyros Papaloukas, who held this position from the 1940s until his death in 1957.

"The collection includes poor representation of the 19th century with names such as Spyros Prosalendis, Dionysios Tsokos and others, but great weight was given to the questionable 1930s and 1940s, and includes both present and modern manifestations and quests of artists," says Ms. Kyriazis.

The big names of the collection include George Iacovidis, Angelos Giallina, Vincent Bokatsiampi, Nikos Litras, George Bouzianis, Agenor Asteriadis, Yanis Moralis and other "precursors" of the generation such as Gerasimos Steris. Contemporary artists include Opi Zouni- recently deceased, Chronis Botsoglou and Maki Theofylaktopoulos.

Playing an important role in this collection is a very good series of engravings "teachers" such as Angel Theodoropoulos, Efthimis Papadimitriou, John Kefallinos, Vaso Katraki, Tasos (Alevizos) as well as today's teachers ASFA Mihalis Arfaras and Vicky Tsalamata.

"After a presentation of a representative collection and new acquisitions, the Municipal Art Gallery will then follow with its permanent collection to ensure presentation of all works, and that the permanent collection will not remain static in the space of a gallery as it would be in a museum", concludes Ms. Kyriazis.

The first major exhibition of the new Municipal Art Gallery will be a world "premiere" of the collection of businessman and collector, Mr. George Economou. Four hundred and fifty works from the collection will be exhibited in two phases. The first of which will include, in time, works from the 15th century to works of the German New Objectivity movement of 1923, along with a collection of works by Amedeo Modigliani, Pierre Matisse, Pierre Bonard, Picasso, Andrea Palladio, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Max Pechstain, Erich Chekel Alberto Giacometti, Alexander Archipenko, Jim Drain, Lucian Freud, and Cy Twombly.

The second phase will begin with works of the Surrealist movement and end with the last expression of modernity, in Neuwilden for the decades of 1970 and 1980, while also presenting a collection of prints from many different movements.

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