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The Illustrated Books of Démétrius Galanis - A Discreet yet Amazing Exhibition

By Megakles Rogakos
Art Historian & Exhibition Curator
Athens, 1 July 2014

On the occasion of this exhibition, impressive is the result of the fruitful cooperation of two cultural giants - Alpha Bank and National Bank Cultural Foundation. Galanis’ works in their collections are enriched with further works from private collections, museums and institutions (National Gallery and Alexander Soutzos Museum, Benaki Museum, Teloglion Foundation of Art of AUTh, the International Foundation of John Koutsocheras and Lena Strefi-Koutsochera, Corfu Reading Society, and the National Library of Greece). The accompanying exhibition catalogue with texts by Eirini Orati, Angelos Drakogiorgos and George D. Matthiopoulos is raisonné and covers 152 books, albums and journals that the artist illustrated between 1904 and 1962. The exhibition presents in an impeccably museological manner the majority of these publications.
A separate work in the exhibition is a portrait of Galanis created in 1914 by Henri Matisse, now belonging to the collection of Alpha Bank. It is also worth noting that in an early interview published in the Arts and Decoration magazine in New York on September 1915, Marcel Duchamp wrote “The spirit of Daumier is revived in the Greek cartoonist Gallinis [sic] who has lately done some very interesting themes in the manner of the cubists.” Of great importance is also the fact that in 1917 Edgar Degas bequeathed his own printing press of the 17th century to Galanis (currently this press is in a private collection in Athens). The highest honour to Galanis came in 1959 when his friend, André Malraux, as culture minister, personally delivered at his studio the medal of the Legion of Honour.
Galanis (1879-1966) was born and died in Greece. Having experienced the loss of his son in the 1940 in the war, and the death of his wife in 1962, he decided to return to his ‘Ithaca,’ Athens. He excelled, however, in France and was honoured there for his work. In the opinion of those who know his work, Galanis did rather well to reject in 1929 the proposal of Zacharias Papantoniou to head printmaking at the School of Fine Arts of the Technical University of Athens. Galanis honoured Greece internationally from France. Certainly throughout the course of his career his native country recognized his talent - in 1926 the National Gallery acquired prints of his, in 1934 the Academy of Athens honoured him with the Kandilorion Award, and in 1928 the Iliou Melathron hosted his first personal exhibition in Greece. However, the same country just about managed a to commemorate him with such worthy exhibition just before half-century from his death. Congratulations and well done to all contributors to the exhibition!

Megakles Rogakos
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Public Information
Exhibition Title | Démétrius Galanis - The Illustrated Books.
Venue | MIET Cultural Foundation, Eynard Mansion, 20 Aghiou Konstantinou Street, Athens, GR 10431.
Duration | 7 May - 11 october 2014 (closed in August)
Contact | +30 210 5223 101, +30 210 3234 267, miet2@otenet.gr
Open | Tuesday to Friday 10 am-2 pm, Wednesday and Friday 6-8 pm, Saturday 12-2 pm.
Admission | Free of Charge.

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demetrius demetrius demetrius demetrius demetrius