The Municipality of Athens, through OPANDA,presents a large modular exhibition dedicated to Greek women artists. The exhibition “In the Shadow” examines the female contribution to 20th century art. It includes works by a total of 120 painters and sculptors born between 1871 and 1941, from Thalia Flora-Karabia to Opy Zouni. All works belong to the collection of the Municipality of Athens Art Gallery.
The first part of this exhibition triptych includes works by artists born between 1871 and 1910. Here we find pioneers who were active in the first half of the 20th century and had an important presence in the interwar period, such as Maria Inglesi, Sophia Laskaridou, Maria Lytra, Koula Stefanou and Athena Tarsoulis, Fifi Chiller, Angeliki Hadjimichali, but also creators who left a strong imprint in the 1950s and 1960s, such as Lili Arlioti, Koula Maragopoulou, Aglaia Papa and Celeste Polychroniadis. Three special cases of self-taught painters (Efi Micheli, Ioulia Papanoutsou, Eleni Prevezanou-Lelekou), a mosaic composition by Ella Voila, the raccographs of the actress Sotiria Iatridou and the anthographs of Marina Haikalis-Skarlatou also stand out.
It is worth noting that many of these artists had exhibited at the Lyceum of Hellenic Women, at the Panhellenic Exhibitions of Zappeion, at the Agency for Spiritual Cooperation, at the Greek-Soviet Association and in the halls of public libraries, while some of them participated in the same group and in its exhibitions (for example, we mention the Art Group and the Artistic Association of Hellenic Women). Judging from the style and subject matter of their works, we can conclude that they were mainly inspired by the Greek landscape, emphasizing the humble object that can be an occasion for creation. It is characteristic that they are interested in all subjects, especially those that radiate truth and sincerity: the Attic countryside, monuments, monasteries, the unadulterated Greek islands, still lifes, old Athenian houses, flowers, the naked female body, portraits, interiors, impressions and scenes from everyday life. The assimilation of the movements (impressionism, phobism, neoclassicism, expressionism, abstraction) is evident, digested and effortless, as is their interest in folklore, while the influence of the teachings of Konstantinos Parthenis (especially in drawing), Georgios Iakovidis, Spyridon Vikatos, Nikolaos Lytras and Dimitris Galanis cannot go unnoticed.
The exhibition presents works that were exhibited at the first Panhellenic Art Exhibitions, in private art galleries (Zygos, Stratigopoulou), at the “Exhibition of Macedonian Painters” (1953) and which were purchased by the Municipality of Athens. Also, purchases of works were made at the personal request of the artists to the Mayor, as in the case of Effie Micheli. Claiming recognition and equal treatment (it is characteristic that their works were sold cheaper than those of men), women slowly began to gain confidence and to declare it. As Athena Tarsouli noted in the magazine ‘Woman’ in 1939 on the occasion of the second Panhellenic Exhibition, ‘the aesthetic production of the Greek woman rivals that of her male counterpart in terms of strength and performance’.
The exhibition “In the Shadow” contributes to the visibility and recognition of these women artists, many of whom are unknown or forgotten today. Moreover, it highlights the rich collection of the Athens City Gallery, giving the general public and scholars the opportunity to come into contact with “the other half of the sky” or “the other half of the thing”, to recall the art critic and poet Eleni Vakalo, who, through her column in the newspapewr “Ta Nea”, wrote about most of these artists, supported and encouraged them with her words, and in a way is the link – the voice – that unites all these views.
Thalia-Flora Karavia. Pearls. Oil Painting 51X41 cm.
The first part of the exhibition “In the Shadow” presents works by the artists:
Maria Anagnostopoulou-Vranika, Amphitrite Anagnostopoulou-Petrea, Μaria Apostolatou, Eleni Argyropoulou, Tzeni Lybber-Argyrou, Lily Arlioti, Erato Asprogeraka, Maria Verdesopoulou, Euthymia Vlassopoulou-Satha, Elli Voila-Laskari, Maria Voukidou, Theoni Voutyra-Stefonopoulou, Eleni Georgiantis-Voziki, Nausika Georgiadis-Mousouri, Dora Γραφiadou, Josephine (Fifi) Dimas-Chiller, Penelope Diamantopoulou-Gavala, Thalia Diplarakou, Eleni Zoggolopoulou, Eleni Iliadou, Sotiria Iatridou, Maria Iglesi, Elli Kapaitzi, Mina Kolettis, Eleni Konstantinidis, Sophia Laskaridou, Rhea Leontaritou, Nitsa Makarona, Ioanna (Jenny) Manousi, Koula Maragopoulou, Artemis Melissaratu, Efi Micheli, Koula Bekiari, Elpis Biskini, Katia Nataridou, Aglaia Papa, Julia Papanoutsou, Dora Potiri, Eleni Prevezanou-Lelekou, Penelope Economidi, Ira Economidou, Eleni Pitaris-Pangalou, Celeste Polychroniadis, Falina Skyrou-Papoula, Elli Soyouultzoglou-Seraidari (Nelly’s), Lela Stathopoulou, Angeliki (Koula) Stefanou, Pallas Stroγγύli, Ioanna (Zannett) Schins, Athena Tarsoulis, Thalia Flora-Karavia, Lela Floru-Polykandriotou, Marina Haikalis-Skarlatou, Isabella Harbouri, Angeliki Hadjimichali, Maria Hors-Lytra, Titsa Chrysochoidi
The exhibition is curated by Christoforos Marinos, art historian, curator of exhibitions and activities of OPANDA and Kalli Petrochilou, Artist, Curator of the Athens Municipal Gallery. The exhibition is realized with the valuable contribution of Kostas Nikakis, art conservator of the Gallery.
Photograph Stills: Eleftheria Kousiaki,
Captions/Documentation: Stacey Ventura, Katerina Sacha
The opening of the exhibition took place on Tuesday 26 September 2023, 18:00-22:00
Duration: 26 September– 26 November 2023
Opening Hours: Tuesday- Saturday 11:00 – 19:00, Sunday 10:00 – 16:00, Monday closed
Gallery of the Municipality of Athens:
Leonidou & Mullerou, Sq. Avdi Square, Metaxourgeio
Information: 210 5202420| www.opanda.gr