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YANNIS TSAROUCHIS. The viewer and the viewed | Small Retrospective



YANNIS TSAROUCHIS. The viewer and the viewed

Small Retrospective

Historical Museum of Crete - 20 December 2023

Paintings by Yannis Tsarouchis, the internationally acclaimed painter of Greece, from the Zacharias G. Portalakis Modern Art Collection are displayed from Wednesday 20 December 2023 at the Historical Museum of Crete (Temporary Exhibition Room, 1st floor).

This is the sixth temporary exhibition co-organised by the Society of Cretan Historical Studies and the collector Zacharias Portalakis, following Divinity, (dis)continued (group exhibition), Dialogue with the Invisible (works by Jannis Spyropoulos), Teratologies (works by Diamantis Diamantopoulos), On the Move (works by Alexis Akrithakis) and To Time and to Silence (works by Sotiris Sorogas).

At the new temporary exhibition of the Historical Museum of Crete, YANNIS TSAROUCHIS. The viewer and the viewed | Small Retrospective, the seven works from the Portalakis Collection (Portrait of Kostas Koulentianos, Seated Nude and Piece of Furniture with Spears, Tsamikos and Zeimbekikos, The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian, Portrait of a Young Man, David and Reclining Nude) cover an artistic journey of five decades, from 1940 to 1986. Inspired by the exhibition at the Historical Museum of Crete, texts by distinguished art historians and theorists contribute to the overall study of Tsarouchis’s works and artistic oeuvre. These are “selected works by the artist, a genius in multiple fields, who managed to make his artistic expression a way of life and vice versa”, notes Dr Dora Iliopoulou Rogan (art historian and critic, Οfficier des Αrts et Lettres). Art historian and critic Denys Zacharopoulos shares his view that “artists like Tsarouchis are rare in a century and produce work that both conceals and reveals, a world that no one can tame and classify definitively, for it resists both us and time”. Dr George-Byron Davos (Doctor of Aesthetics and Philosophy of Language) says that, “all the characteristics of Tsarouchis’s art become clear from the works of the Portalakis Collection, which recall his alignment with the gradual shaping of his fellow-artists of the Generation of the ’30s in their search for the ideal of Greekness.”

The texts and a wealth of material on Tsarouchis’s life and work accompany the paintings in the exhibition catalogue of the same name. The catalogue will be available at a later date, at the official opening of the exhibition.

The new SCHS/HMC temporary exhibition YANNIS TSAROUCHIS. The viewer and the viewed | Small Retrospective is organised by the scientific, administrative and technical staff of the institution in collaboration with collector Zacharias Portalakis and the Yannis Tsarouchis Foundation headed by Mrs Niki Grypari, the artist’s niece.

The exhibition is organised with the support of the Ministry of Culture, the Region of Crete and the A. and M. Kalokerinos Foundations.


In the new year, alongside the official opening of the exhibition, the printed bilingual catalogue and the free bilingual leaflet, the sixth exhibition of works from the Zacharias G. Portalakis Modern Art Collection will also be combined with educational activities for schools and the general public.




Yannis Tsarouchis was born in Piraeus in 1910. He studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts from 1928 to 1934, the last two years in Parthenis’s studio, while he also studied under Fotis Kontoglou. In 1935 he went to Paris for a year, where he met Tériade (Efstratios Eleftheriades), then the artistic director of the Surrealist review Minotaure). Tsarouchis also met Matisse, who influenced his style. In 1938 he held his first solo exhibition in Athens with 34 works. In 1949 he became a founding member of the Armos Group. In 1951 he exhibited works in Paris and London. The following year, the British Council held a retrospective exhibition of his work with 65 paintings. In 1953 he signed an exclusive contract with Alexandros Iolas. In 1958 he represented Greece at the Venice Biennale, together with Moralis and Sochos. Tsarouchis sought refuge in France at the beginning of the dictatorship in 1967. In 1975, works of his were included in the Four Painters of 20th Century Greece: Theophilos, Kontoglou, Ghika, Tsarouchis exhibition at the Wildenstein Gallery, part of London’s Greek Month. He returned to Greece the same year. In 1981, the Macedonian Museum of Modern Art held a major retrospective with 157 works created between 1928 and 1981. He died in Athens on 20 July 1989.


YANNIS TSAROUCHIS. The viewer and the viewed | Small Retrospective

Exhibition duration: 20 December 2023 – 29 March 2025

Location: Historical Museum of Crete – Temporary Exhibition Room (1st floor) | 27 Sofokli Venizelou Avenue, Heraklion, Crete

Information: 2810-283219, ext. 101 | www.historical-museum.gr