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Garden



Odysseas Fokas (1857-1946)
Garden
oil on wood
AGLC 73 @ A.G Leventis Gallery

The plein air tendencies evident in Greek painting in the late 19th century continued into the 20th. Odysseas Fokas, an artist who worked during that period, was regarded by his contemporaries as the leading Greek landscapist; he introduced new approaches to plein air painting. Other artists, who did not wish to clash with tradition, continued to produce descriptive views of the Greek landscape, island views, evocations of mainland or maritime areas, capturing the diversity of the Greek countryside. Influences and echoes of Impressionism and the movements that it engendered, however, are not totally absent from their works. Influenced by Post-Impressionistic modes, Epaminondas Thomopoulos’ output falls within that current. In his impressive landscape view of Mount Helmos, he emphasised the picturesque rendering of the mountainous landscape, using light colours and syncopated brushwork. Landscapes by Konstantinos Romanidis and Georgios Kosmadopoulos betray the influence of Impressionism, whereas the view of Cephalonia and the Argostoli Gulf by Vassileios Ithakissios is firmly arranged in colour bands defined by horizontal and vertical axes. The unique geophysical formation, as well as the architecture of Santorini, inspired Dimitris Gioldassis and Nikolaos Heimonas in the 1920s. Stelios Miliadis, who studied in Munich and Paris, and Andreas Georgiadis of Crete, who long taught as professor at the Athens School of Fine Arts, opted to produce views from life in the countryside.

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About the artist

From 1876 he studied law at Aix in France and, in parallel, painting in independent academies in Paris. In 1885 he returned to Greece andcontributed illustrations of current events to the Athens press. For family reasons, he lived in Romania from 1907 to 1910. His exhibitionactivity, which began in 1888, included participation in group and international exhibitions (Paris Exposition Universelle 1900, bronzemedal; Smyrna 1902; Alexandria 1905; Venice Biennale 1934); he also showed work with the ‘Techni’ group of artists (1917, 1919). He receivedthe Silver Cross of the Saviour (1918). From 1915 until his death, he worked at the National Gallery in Athens, to which he bequeathed theentirety of his property and art collection.   One of the instigators of plein air painting and Impressionist tendencies in Greek art, he was regarded by his contemporary critics as a boldand pioneering landscapist; he also pursued portraiture.

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