A small in numbers but very interesting collection, the Averoff Neohellenic Art Gallery is now included in SearchCulture.gr, the cultural content search portal developed by the National Documentation Centre (EKT). There are now 63 organizations in the search portal including 9 Museums and Galleries.
The collection of the Averoff Gallery captures the main trends of modern Greek art, from the mid-19th century to the present day, through 100 works representative of the most important painters of the 19th and 20th centuries, such as Gyzis, Volanakis, Jakobides , Parthenis and others. The collection of works illuminates a particular period of modern Greek painting, a restless era in search of a Greek identity in art, particularly in regard to the relationship with the major European art centres.
In the midst of the industrial revolution, a number of Greek painters, influenced by their studies abroad, innovated by bringing modernism home. Painters like Pericles Pantazis, one of the first Greek Impressionist painters and a pioneer of the style in Belgium and the post-impressionist Maleas, considered to be the ‘father of modern art in Greece’, express a shared spirit with the West. Other artists, such as Iakovidis, experimented with genre painting, depicting the domesticity of the family home acting as a protective shell not threatened by the rapid changes in society.
The Averoff Gallery collection reflects this tension, this search for identity of a country that lies between the West and the East. From the orientalism expressed by Rallis to the war paintings of Roilos, we see an awakening of a national consciousness and a search for its own identity.
The portrait of Averoff by Parthenis in 1896, Tsokas’ ‘ Boat of Greeks’ depicting fugitives from Parga 1819 -fighters, a priest, a woman-on a boat floundering in the waves on their way into exile, such a relevant theme to today, and the ‘Portrait of Pavlos Melas’ by Jakobides are some of the most beloved and well-known works from the collection, representations of Greek collective memory.
Among the most interesting works of the collection is ‘The burning of the Turkish flagship by Kanaris’ by Lytras, which was painted by the artist based on true stories told by Kanaris, who often visited him in his studio. Other works that stand out are works by Iakovidis such as ‘First Steps’, done in two versions one of which is in the Averoff Gallery.
The collection also includes works from the last 30-40 years, by artists such as Alekos Fasianos, Opy Zouni and Skourtis’s installations.
ΕΚΤ and digital public space for culture
EKT, in co-operation with leading organisations, promotes the idea of a digital public space for culture produced in Greece. SearchCulture.gr aggregates assets from important collections and continuously expands publicly available cultural content. At the same time, EKT supports the promotion of Greek culture by contributing content to the European Digital Library Europeana. EKT’s objective is to circulate knowledge with minimum restrictions, to offer new possibilities to understand modern civilization and cultural heritage and to ensure open citizen access to public cultural goods.
The painting "Mesolongi" by Spyros Vassiliou (1902-1985) belongs to the collection of the Averoff Gallery and is licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC 4.0