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Yannis Tsarouchis (Γιάννης Τσαρούχης)

Artist (Greece)
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About

(1910 Piraeus - 1989 Athens)
He studied at the School of Fine Arts (1928-1934) under Dimitrios Biskinis, Dimitrios Geraniotis, Spyros Vikatos, Georgios Jakovides, Thomas Thomopoulos, Yannis Kefallinos and Konstantinos Parthenis. At the same time he spent four years (1930-1934) in the workshop of Fotis Kontoglou who initiated him into Byzantine painting and music.

In 1935 he travelled to Constantinople and Smyrna and then went to Paris where he learned the art of copperplate. In the French capital he studied at first hand the painting of the Renaissance, Impressionism and the work of Theophilos from the Teriade collection. He also met Matisse, Laurens and Giacometti. In 1936 he returned to Greece and two years later organized his first solo show at the Th. Alexopoulos business in Athens. This was followed by many solo shows among which were retrospectives in 1952 at the British Council, 1966 at the Astor gallery and 1981 at the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki while in 1980 a solo show was organized at the Grand Palais. His exhibition activity also included appearances at the exhibitions of the "Armos" (Junction) group, of which he was a founding member, Panhellenies and international exhibitions such as the Biennales of Alexandria in 1955 and Venice in 1958.

He started his professional involvement with set design in 1928 and this was to make up an important part of his artistic creation and includes cooperative undertakings with the National Theater, the State Opera, Karolos Koun’s Art Theater, the Ancient Theater at Epidaurus, Covent Garden in London, the Dallas Civic Opera of Texas, the Theatre National Populaire of Paris and Teatro Olympico in Vincenza. He also worked with important Greek and foreign artists such as Maria Callas, Katina Paxinou, Alexis Minotis, Michael Kakoyannis, Jules Dassin and Franco Zeffirelli. During the period 1960-1962, moreover, he taught stage design at the Doxiadis School. He was also involved with book illustration while in the context of his broader interest in art, he wrote texts and reviews which were later published in books.

In 1967, because of political developments in Greece, he went back to Paris and returned home once and for all in 1980. Two years later he launched the "Tsarouchis Foundation" housed in the artist’s house in Maroussi and containing both his works and those of other artists.

One of the most important representatives of the "Thirties Generation", Tsarouchis embodied in his work the ideal of "Greekness". With a multiplicity of influences from Hellenistic and Byzantine art, the art of the Renaissance and more modern times, the work of Matisse, Theophilos and Kontoglou as well as the figures of the Karaghiozis shadow puppets, he created a unique personal style and depicted landscapes, still lifes, nudes and allegorical scenes. But his interest was primarily focused on the human figure, creating isolated portraits, as well as scenes with sailors and soldiers, which make up a characteristic part of his work.

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