From January 29 and till April 22, the City of Athens Culture, Sport and Youth Organization will inaugurate a show that presents the entire part of works acquired by the major Greek artist Spiros Papaloukas, who starts in 1939 to work for the City Plan at the Town Hall, and will become director of the City Pinacotheque after 1941, until 1957.
The exhibition presents also the relative documentation from the decisions of the Municipal Council, the proposals of Papaloukas, or other correspondance to the Mayor.
The exhibition is curated by Denys Zacharopoulos,who is the Artistic Director of Pinacotheque, Museums & Collections of the City of Athens, along with the important contribution of Mary Michailidou an art historian, and Kalli Petroxeilou the curator of the art gallery.
At the turn of the 20th century many artists broke away from the Society of Art's Friends and after successive artistic and professional confrontations and claims, their work was acquired by the Collection of the Municipal Gallery of Athens, an institutional space in the spirit of what is internationally known as Secession. These artists were first designated as “modernisers” in terms of their approach of society and then as “modern” in aesthetic or stylistic terms. Athens’ Municipal Gallery was run from the start by major modernising artists and embraced the new trends and the circle of the "Techni" group (1917). Painter Spyros Papaloukas (1892-1957) is considered as the most outstanding figure among its directors. The Gallery’s collection brings together a significant number of works by independent artists and modernists that were critically selected from their exhibitions. Most of these works reflect a heightened sensibility towards everyday life, the love of reality as we perceive it since Courbet or the Impressionists, landscape and plein-air painting, interest in the variety of natural and historic wealth, as well as the many new artistic and expressive idioms. One could say that the Gallery’s collection parallels literature in expressing an artistic “demoticism” and reflecting the modernisation of language and education during the first half of the 20th century. The drive toward modernisation of those times consolidated the status of Athens not only as a capital, but as a cosmopolitan centre. The present-day Collection comprises more than three thousand works, mostly paintings, and a representative ensemble of modern Greece graphic arts. The Municipal Gallery is a Pinacotheque conceived as a "collection" which inscribes the social dimension of its role in the city and the Municipality.
Today, the City of Athens Culture, Sport and Youth Organization has the good fortune of bringing together a large number of ‘milestones’ in the city’s history; headed by the Municipal Gallery, they constitute a dense network of Museums, Collections and public spaces. Despite the crisis, the cultural network of the Municipality of Athens offers free entrance to all, as a public statement of its conviction that the participation of the citizens in the life of culture and education, and of artists and intellectuals in the life of the Polis, are society’s primary tools and guarantees of a free and democratic world.