During the post-war period when the Museum was being created, artistic creativity in Greece experienced a spectacular growth setting the stage for novel concepts and styles. The pre-war generation of the artists of the 30’s and 40’s such as Yannis Moralis, Nicos Hatzikyriacos-Gikas, Nicos Engonopoulos, Yannis Spyropoulos, Alecos Condopoulos, Yannis Tsarouhis, Diamandis Diamantopoulous and many others, achieved their full maturity in their individual, well established styles. The museum’s collection offers a rich range of examples from those artists and their efforts to fuse national traditions with west European concepts in a rich variety of both representative and abstract compositions. Nevertheless, these works appear to possess an obvious inner cohesion, and this because each artist retains a common national consciousness. It was this older group of leading artists who set the basic concepts of contemporary Greek art, stressing generally perhaps an excessive sense of “Greekness”, accentuated by a very selective use of hues and colours.
Concurrently, a new dynamic generation of artists of the late 60’s working mostly in Paris came to full maturity. Inevitably they absorbed all the stylistic trends of contemporary art such as expressionism, impressionism, cubism, surrealism, collage, photo montage and much else. Yet despite it all, they managed to establish a visual reality of their own in accordance with their individual concepts and senses of tradition. It can be well asserted that Costas Tsoklis, Christos Caras, Dimitris Mytaras, Alecos Fassianos, Vlassis Kaniaris, Nicos Kessanlis, Dimosthenis Kokkinidis, Yannis Gaitis, Pavlos, Christos Sarakatsianaos, Sotiris Sorogas and many others, are the artists who shaped that particular period. Their work reflects a new spirit permeated by western tendencies, nevertheless retaining a concept of Hellenism aesthetically appealing and without any negative effects. All these varieties are well represented in the Vorres Museum by numerous works of that period.
Mature works by artists such as Botsoglou, Psychopaidis, Samios, Theofylaktopoulos, Droungas, Adamakos, Golfinos, Kottis, Mortarakos and others, form a valuable asset in the museum’s collection, giving us a well-rounded picture of Greek art at the end of the 20th century.
An important aspect of the collection also is the inclusion of many works by Greek artists living abroad and who, due to difficult circumstances at home, established and distinguished themselves mostly in Paris and New York. The Vorres Museum founder, a cosmopolitan visionary and a staunch believer in the universality of Greek civilization, made sure to include important works by those leading artists of the Greek diaspora as well, such as Thodoros Stamos, Loucas Samaras, Yannis Kounelis, Chryssa, Marios Prassinos, Despo Mangoni, Paul Giovanopoulos, Jean Xceron and many others, adding thus an international flavour to the museum.
In his relentless efforts to enrich the collection further and broaden the museum’s scope, he filled many interior and exterior spaces with contemporary Greek sculpture, revealing its radical emancipation from the traditional neoclassic forms into an exciting variety of new contours hued from a rich selection of materials. Thus sculptures by such well known sculptors like Zongolopoulos, Loucopoulos, Apergis, Mylonas, Koulendianos, Moustakas, Parmakelis, Papagiannis, Sklavos, Takis, Thodoros, Mihalea, Kalakalas and others are featured, many of whom are also leaders in the international art scene.
A large group of younger artists are also well represented, such as Lappas, Gyparakis, Dikefalos, Sarandopoulou, Giannakas, Petridis, who daringly and innovatively experiment with every type of material in a spirit of modernism as regards form and its connotations. Also included are works using extraordinary mediums, sound and movement, all revealing radical new concepts as regards the visual object. In this category are Bouteas, Chryssa, Tsirigoulis and others who achieve a successful blending of contemporary technology with all sorts of materials pouring forth from our consumer society.
Dr. Nelli Missirli
Curator of the National Gallery