Costas Paniaras




Kostas Paniaras was born in Kiato, on the 28th of May, to Yannis Paniaras and Mina Georgoulis.

The six year old Kostas enters Elementary School when, on October 28, war breaks out between Greece and Italy.

The hardships during the Italian and German occupation are somewhat eased thanks to produce from family country estate.

Usual childish paintings and drawings of soldiers and battles…

During the December Hostilities, the Paniaras family is stranded in an Athens hotel.

Young Kostas comes across painter’s tools and colours for the first time in the room of an Art student, also stranded in the same hotel.

Through awkward sketches, he attempts a life rendering of the six-fingered hands of a young valet.

First year in High School. Art lessons are being given by the well respected painter Errikos Lekos, who being a tenant in Kostas’ relative’s house, spends his afternoons painting in front of his twelve year old student’s dazzled eyes.

Under guidance and advice from his teacher, Kostas starts painting from nature, landscapes and still lives. Up to his graduation from High School, he spends most of his free time painting in most vivid colours, the familiar landscapes of his home countryside.

To comply with his family tradition, (his grandfather being a doctor, his father a chemist and all his relatives university graduates) he enters Law School at Athens University.

His occasional visits to art exhibitions in Athens leave him indifferent until he comes across the exhibition of Yiannis Mytarakis at the Hall of the “Kentrikon” Hotel. Unexpectedly his early youth’s attraction to painting is rekindled and he starts taking weekly lessons with Eleni Zongolopoulou.

In February, Yiannis Gaitis’ exhibition, at the same “Kentrikon” Hotel, precipitates the end of Kostas’ Law studies.

After passing the entrance exams to the School of Fine Arts, he attends the preliminary class, under the professor Yiannis Moralis.

First year art student at the workshop of Moralis.

On March 26th he has his first solo exhibition at the Monica Payne gallery in Athens. Despite of the pouring rain, the gallery is absolutely full of people and the success is crowned by the presence of eminent art critics of the time, who unanimously welcome and praise the exhibition.

Follows a three-month journey to Italy, from Venice to Naples, with intermediate stops at most of the Italian cities of art. Visiting the great museums and numerous exhibitions of modern art proves to be a precious experience.

In October of the same fateful year 1956, Kostas Paniaras moves to Paris.

He settles at 18 Rue d’ Odessa, in Montparnasse and with a letter of recommendation from the noted Greek painter Ghika, enters the André Lhôte Academy.

At the same time he enlists for Lithography lessons at the École des Beaux Arts and simultaneously studies the art of fresco and mosaic, at the school of Gino Severini.

Most of his evenings he attends the nude drawing classes at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière..

First participation in the thematic exhibition ‘Salon du Nu’. Galerie Bernheim – Jeune, 27 Avenue Matignon. January 5 – February 7.

At the cafes of Saint Germain des Prés, he meets with many painters and becomes friends with Tsingos, Gaitis and Molfessis.

He participates in the exhibition ‘Artistes Grecs de Paris’, Maison Internationale-Galerie Nord,(January) and moves to the Cité Universitaire where he meets Gerassimos Sclavos, Kostas Gavras, Alkis Valais and other young Greek artists.

He creates his first stage settings and costumes for Andre Gide’s ‘Minotaur’.

He establishes himself in the Quartier Latin – 6 rue Christine, where he will spend the remaining sixteen years of his stay in Paris.

He becomes a friend of Louise de Vilmorin, the famous poetess and writer, who introduces him to collectors and other personalities of the art world.

He paints his first radical non-objective works.

Alexander Iolas, a friend of Louise de Vilmorin, in Paris for the preparation of a major exhibition of Magritte at the Galerie Rive Droite, visits Paniaras’ studio. Impressed by the painters work, he buys some of his latest paintings and proposes an exhibition at his New York Gallery.

Paniaras exhibits his new non-objective paintings at The French Institute of Athens, January 15 – 31.

In July and August, the Galerie d’ Antiques of Deauville in collaboration with Iolas, organizes a solo exhibition of Paniaras.

On September 29, he takes part in the Second Biennale de Paris, at the Musée d’ Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. The Greek committee, under the presidency of G. Kournoutos, had rejected the very same paintings which the French committee under the presidency of Raymond Cognat, accepts and exhibits. Among the co-exhibitors are Bernard Buffet, Pierre Alechinsky, Arman and others.

On October 5, the exhibition at the Alexander Iolas Gallery opens in New York. During the opening evening, most of the paintings are sold. The New York Museum of Modern Arts acquires two of the exhibited works, after flattering reviews published in the New York Herald Tribune and the New York Times.

The famous American collector Virginia Chambers, buys Paniaras’ paintings and introduces him to Hanna Bekker vom Rath, patron of contemporary German art, who presents his paintings at a solo exhibition in her historical Frankfurter Kunstkabinett.

In October he participates in the exhibition ‘L’ Oeil de Boeuf ‘, Galerie Ardail Castro, in Paris and in November, in ‘The Art in America Show’ of New York.

Gallery Nees Morfes, Athens. Solo exhibition of the new series of paintings ‘Myriads’. May 15 – June 3. Enthusiastic reviews in the press result in an impressive selling success.

Participation in the exhibition ‘New Greek Artists’ – Athens School of Fine Arts. July 25 – August 8.

‘Phenomena and Private Events’, solo exhibition, Galerie Alexandre Iolas, Geneva.

Participation in the Biennale de Tokyo.

Group shows: Alexander Iolas Gallery, New York and Galerie Flinker, Paris.

Kostas becomes a friend of the famous surrealist Victor Brauner and often visits his studio.

He also spends many weekends in Brussels, as a guest of René Magritte and his wife Georgette, at their home, 97 rue des Mimosas. The great painter who had stopped painting due to health reasons develops near paternal feelings for Paniaras.

Solo exhibitions at the Athens Gallery and at the Frankfurter Kunstkabinett.

Participation in the Quatriennale ‘The Art in America Show’, New York.

Travels for the first time to Iran, as a guest of Valais, who at the time is Professor at the Teheran School of Architecture and a successful interior designer, with a large circle of clients. Farah Diba, an old friend from the Cite Universitaire, then a student at the École Speciale d’ Architecture, is by now Empress of Iran.

The Borghese Gallery of Teheran, presents in a grand exhibition the ‘Phenomena’ of Paniaras and the success surpasses every local precedent.

Suspending his collaboration with Iolas, restrains his obligations and begins long stays in India, Nepal as well as in other countries of the Far East, where he comes in direct contact with their civilizations and with the great and radiant colours of their art.

In February he returns to Greece, bringing with him the best paintings of his twenty year production, kept in his Paris studio.

On the 18th of March that year, a catastrophic fire burns down his family house and his studio, in Kiato. Hundreds of paintings and archives of two decades are lost within one night.

He engages in the new series ‘Day and Night’ with their dominant reds and blues, which will become, together with the golds and silvers, the key-colours of his work thereafter.

First attempts of the characteristic painted-over antique replicas, successively embodied in the series ‘Day and Night’.

In a new collaboration with Alexander Iolas, who by that time is established in Athens, he presents his recent paintings as well as his painted-over sculptures, at the Athens Art Gallery.

The noted collector Dakis Joannou, acquires the Corinthian column, axial piece of the exhibition and places it in the Intercontinental Hotel.

Iolas exhibits Paniaras’ works from the same series ‘Day and Night’ at the Galerie Samy Kinge, Paris. April 27 – May 22. All the works are purchased before the opening of the exhibition, by the international collector James Kennedy.

At the Nicosia Festival ‘Gate of Famagusta’, where he exhibits his first works with plasticized materials, he makes the acquaintance and becomes a friend of the well known Cypriot collector Dimitris Pieridis.

He meets Meta Filippou at Iolas’ house, in Aghia Paraskevi.

On March 22, they are together in New York, where works of ready-made vinyl sheets and sculptures from the series ‘Day and Night’ are exhibited at the new Iolas-Jackson Gallery.

Works from the same series at the Psychico Art Gallery, June 1 – June 30.

The summer of the same year, Meta and Kostas get married.

In the fall, after having participated in the exhibition of the National Art Gallery ‘Contemporary Tendencies of the Modern Greek Art’, he travels to Russia with his wife, where they visit the great museums.

Participates in the exhibition ‘Art Fair 84′. Psychico Gallery Stand, Intercontinental Hotel, June 1 – June 17.

In August, recent works are exhibited at the ‘Miranda Art Gallery’ in Hydra.

In October, Iolas’ donation, which includes works by Paniaras, is exhibited at the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art.

The Pieridis Art Gallery, in collaboration with Iolas, inaugurates a grand retrospective exhibition of Paniaras. October 15 – December 16.

Participates in the Group Show ‘After the Abstraction’, at the Nees Morfes Gallery, Athens.

On September 24, he creates his first Sebastian, the axis-work of the exhibition ‘Pictorial Space-Theatricality’, for Athens-Cultural Capital of Europe.

On July 20th and on the occasion of the inauguration of the new Vassilis and Eliza Goulandris Museum of Modern Art in Andros, Kostas Paniaras presents 30 recent works in collaboration with Alexander Iolas.

He also participates in the group shows :
‘The Generation of the Sixties’ at the Pieridis Art Gallery. ‘The Physiognomy of the Post-war Art’ at the Municipal Art Gallery of Athens, March – May. ‘Works of the Modern Greek Art From The Contemporary Currents’ at the International Thessaloniki Fair, Stand 7. August 23 – April 27.

Participates as a special guest exhibitor in the ‘Pan-Hellenic Art Exhibition’ at Piraeus’ O.L.P., with three large scale works: The colonnade ‘The Hours’, the coil-cochlea ‘The Reciprocity of Day and Night’ as well as the wall composition ‘All Day Long’.

He also participates in the exhibitions ‘Contemporary Greek Painting’ at the National Art Gallery, and ‘Vanguard in the Greek Art’ at the Pieridis Art Gallery, at the Second Festival of Patras.

Solo exhibition at the Morphi Gallery, in Limassol, Cyprus. October 20 – November 2.

In May, he creates an impressive Environment at Syntagma Square for the ‘Dromena ’88’ of the Municipality of Athens.

Invited to the International Festival of Patras, July 9 – August 8, and by commission of the Municipality of Patras, he creates the ‘Enlightenment’, a construction of large dimensions, 8 meters heigh and 17 meters long, in the old Anglican Church of the city. This monumental work, arouses strong reactions in the small local Protestant community.

On the 19th and 20th of August, he creates the large stage installation for Moliere’s ‘Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme’ at the Lycabetus theatre, presented by the Modern Theatre of George Messalas, for the Athens Festival.
A solo exhibition of his recent works is inaugurated on the 19th of October, at the Athens Art Gallery.

He participates in the exhibition ‘Greek Painting 1968 – 1988′ of the Greek National Gallery in Brussels.

He also creates the stage settings for the plays ‘Death’s Dance’ by Strindberg, and ‘Hedda Gabler’ by Ibsen.

For Ibsen’s ‘Ghosts’, he creates a suggestive stage setting with an astute and impressive use of mirrors, for the Experimental Theatre.

The Agathi Gallery, presents an exhibition of drawings and older works from Paris. December 12 – January 17, 1990.

Thematic exhibition. A glance at the Contemporary Greek Art, curator Dora Iliopoulou-Rogan and Donald Knolb, the Trammel Crow Centre, Dallas, Texas. March 30 – April 28. In the Newspaper ‘Kathimerini’, the journalist E. Bistika who had followed the exhibition, reports: Paniaras’ great composition ‘Beyond the Landscape’, was bought on the opening night, by a Texan collector who said ‘Yes, this is Greece as I remember it’. April 14th.

At the Museum of Cycladic Art, opens a solo exhibition of Paniaras’ recent paintings. May 16 – June 30.

Participation in two successive thematic exhibitions at the Kreonidis Gallery. ‘Variations on White and Black, Idols-Mirroring-Reflections’. Curator: Dora Iliopoulou-Rogan.

New stage settings for the Experimental Theatre, with a white, red and black pictorial environment for Lorka’s ‘Blood Wedding’.

‘The Sea in the Greek Painting’, curator Chrysanthos Christou. Thematic exhibition at the Nees Morfes Gallery.

Gallery 3 presents works with ready-made vinyl sheets, from the series ‘Day and Night’ of the eighties. May 26 – June 12.

Solo exhibition, Heraklion Art Gallery. October.

The Agathi Art Gallery exhibits the ‘Labyrinth ‘, a sculpture of painted-over PVC, which unfolds to a length of 40 meters. November 9 – 28.

Participation in the exhibitions:
‘Dialogues’. Palais d’Iéna, Paris. January.

‘ART ATHINA ’93’. Stand of Gallery 3, May 24 – 30.

On July 23, on the occasion of the celebration of the 100 years of the Corinth Canal, he creates a vast Environment and the great Colonnade ‘Peloponnesian Guard’, between the two bridges.

The Lola Nicolaou Gallery presents in Thessaloniki a solo exhibition of Paniaras’ recent works. December 1 – 31.

Solo exhibition, Nees Morfes Gallery, Athens. May 17 – June 10.

For the Corinthian Gulf Festival, an important solo exhibition is organized at the Municipal Building of Corinth. November 5 – 30.

Solo exhibitions: Argo Gallery. Nicosia, Cyprus. March 7 – 21 and Psychico Cultural Center, Athens. May 4 – 31.

‘Creative Meetings ΄95′, Averoff Art Gallery, Metsovo.

Homage to Pericles Pantazis, Averoff Art Gallery, Metsovo.

‘Creative Meetings 96′, Selini Gallery, Kifissia.

One man show, Amimoni Art Gallery, Ioannina. December.

Solo exhibitions:
Nees Morfes Art Gallery, Athens. March 18 – April 6. and Lola Nicolaou Art Gallery, Thessaloniki. April 14 – May 20.

‘Emerging Aphrodites’, Nees Morfes Art Gallery, Athens. April 27-May 23.

Solo exhibition, Polygnotos Art Gallery. Heraklion, Crete. June 4- 26.

‘Creative Meetings ΄99′, Selini Art Gallery, Kifissia. September.

‘Forty’, Exhibition for the 40 years of the Nees Morfes Art Gallery, Curator Eleni Kipreos. November 15 – 30.

Solo exhibition, Wigmore Fine Art, London. October 13 – November 10.

Solo exhibition, Lola Nicolaou Art Gallery, Thessaloniki. January 20.

Solo exhibition, Nees Morfes Art Gallery, Athens.May 8 – 31.

‘I, myself’, Thematic exhibition. Center of Contemporary Art, Rethymnon, Crete. Curator Eleni Kipreos. June – July.

Ermoupolia 2003, solo exhibition at the Cyclades Art Gallery. July 5 – 31.

‘ART ATHINA’, Stand Nees Morfes Art Gallery.

‘Views of Athens by contemporary Greek Painters’, Museum of the City of Athens, Vourou-Eftaxia.

‘City of Games’. ‘Journeys through the Contemporary Greek Painting’. Technopolis of the Municipality of Athens. Curator Athina Schina. August 2 – September 15.

‘Resemblance, Nearly’. Thematic exhibition on interpretations of a portrait of Antonis Benakis. Curator Thanassis Moutsopoulos. December 2004 – January 2005.

‘New Contemporary works from the collection of Alpha Bank’, Curator Irini Orati. Athens, the Goulandris Museum of Natural History, May 31-June 12. Nafplion, June 15-October 15. Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, November -December. Curators: I. Orati, D. Zaharopoulos.

Benaki Museum. “Kostas Paniaras – Fifty Years of Painting”. A journey from the oldest to the most recent works. February – March.

“Visual Arts in Greece 2007”.State Museum of Contemporary Art. Thessaloniki. Curator Yiannis Bolis.

“Paniaras. Scapes and Utopia”. Municipal Gallery of Larissa – G.I.Katsigras Museum.. November – February 2008.

“From Ancient Olympia to Beijing”. Cultural Year of Greece in China. Beijing, August 3 – September 20.

“Reintroducing colour”, Solo exhibition, Ikastikos Kyklos. Athens, October 20 – November 15.

“Art & Nature”, State Museum of Contemporary Art, of Thessaloniki, Villa Kazouli, Kifissia. November – December.

Hellenic Museum, Melbourne, Australia. “Ambassadors of contemporary Greek Art”. January 20 – February 20.

“Greek Landscape from 18th to 21st century”. Theocharakis Museum. March 3 – May 31.

“Twenty one paintings in Cephalonia”. August

“New Forms after 50 years”. Benaki Museum. September 23 – November 29.

“The Seasons, a pretext”. Solo exhibition of new polyptychs. Ikastikos Kyklos. October – November

«ART ATHINA 2010». Stand of I.Kyklos. May 13 – 16.

Trilogy: “ The Dialogue – Day and Night 2011 – A Summer day Dream”.
Three monumental works of Paniaras installed at the Hellinikos Kosmos Institute.

“The World of Odysseus Elytis”. Theocharakis Museum. September 22 – November 27.

“ultramarine”. DESTE FOUNDATION. A 150 corrugated metal sheets “floor installation” of 180 square meters. December 15 –February 29

Working on the project ‘’Fragile’’, on Health.

October 14th, death of Costas Paniaras.

‘’Fragile’’. Solo exhibition in the Benaki Museum’s show cases, Central Building. May 25 .

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