youngJSJ. Spyropoulos 1932














zoeZoe 1953













kosmosKosmos 1977










viennaVienna 1978




handsthe artists Hands










1912 The painter Jannis Spyropoulos is born at Pylos, Messinia, on the 12 March, the son of Georgios Spyropoulos and Figaleia Nikolopoulou. Spyropoulos never met his father, who had immigrated to America.
1913 Spyropoulos and his mother settle in Diakofto, with her family. He spends his childhood and adolescence there.
1924 Death of his mother, Figaleia; young Spyropoulos remains under the care and guardianship of his mother family. Even as a schoolboy his interest in and inclination towards, painting is obvious. Spyropoulos attends High School IX in Athens for his penultimate year at school, returning to High School II in Aigio for his last year.
1930-36 Studies at the School of Fine Arts in Athens, with Umvertos Argyros, Spyridon Vikatos and Epameinondas Thomopoulos as his teachers.
1937 Military service.
1938 Spyropoulos wins First Prize in a competition organized by the Academy of Athens (Ourania Konstsntinidi Baquest) for 3 – year scholarships for painters to study in Western Europe. He departs for Paris, where he continues his studies in the Ecole Supérieure des Beaux Arts, under Charles Guerin, and at the Colarossi and Julian free academies.
1938-50 Spyropoulos' period as an academic painter.
1940 On the outbreak of the Second World War, discontinues his studies and returns to Greece.
1940-48 Lives in the Pension Barbalia in the Exarcheia district of Athens, since the family house at 11 Sarantaporou Street is occupied by a protected tenant.
1946 Joins the Hellenic – French Union of Young People. Is recruited by the Workers' Center; as artistic director, is responsible for organizing artistic events in various places of work. 1948 Apprenticeship with Spyropoulos of Nikos Kessanlis, then a young painter. The friendship between the two men began in 1945. Lives in the family house at 11 Sarantaporou St.
1950 First one – man show at the Parnassos Hall, Athens. 1950-52 Period in which Spyropoulos comes under various French influences, and especially that of Cezanne.
1951-55 The transition to formal abstraction can be observed in his paintings; black outlines.
1952 In September, meets his lifelong companion and wife, Zoe Margariti. Joins the art group called Stathmi, which had been formed in 1949. 1952-57 Frequent trips to the Peloponnese and the Greek islands.
1955-59 Abstract tendencies; structured space.
1955 Biennale of Alexandria.
1957 After a visit to Athens on the part of Herbert Mayer of World House Galleries, agreement on a contract of co – operation. Marries Zoe Margariti, his lifelong companion. Designs the poster for the program of the Thessaloniki Art Festival Biennale of Sao Paolo. 1958 Spyropoulos' painting Anafiotika is one of five Greek works representing the country in the international competition for the Guggenheim Prize in New York. The other artists are Yorgos Gounaropoulos, Spyros Vassiliou, Yannis Mitarakis and Panagiotis Tetsis. Gounaropoulos wins the prize for Greece.
1959-64 Gestural scripts – mixed techniques (collages, Tachisme, informel).
1959 Is among the eight Greek artists selected for a representative presentation of Greek art in eight American cities. Abstraction is prominent among the works represented. Through his friend Professor Michalis Tombros, comes to know the work of the Japanese sculptor Isamu Noguchi. First solo exhibition, World House galleries, New York.
1960 With other artists, represents Greece at the 30th Venice Biennale, where he and the Italian artists Antonio Music share the UNESCO Prize. The UNESCO prize starts Spyropoulos on his international career. First personal exhibition, at the gallery of the Techni Art Association of Macedonia, Thessaloniki. In Venice, meets artists such as Emilio Pettturoti (Argentina), Emilio Vedova (Italy) and Lucio Munoz and Luis Feito (Spain). 1961 Visits Britain, where he meets the sculptors Henry Moore, Lynn Chadwick and Eduardo Paolozzi and visits their studios. Holds a personal exhibition at the Kursaal of the Educational Caner, Ostend, Belgium; awarded the town's Gold Medal. World House Galleries, New York (personal). Galleria Gian Ferrari, Milan (personal) Print Internationale, Ljubljana, Yugoslavia. International of Painting, Wolframs – Eschenbach, Germany. Carnegie International of Art, Pittsburgh.
1962 Chrysanthos Christou publishes a monograph on the work of Spyropoulos; this is the first reliable and complete approach to the artist's work down to that time. Portland Art Museum, Oregon (personal). Roswell Museum and Art Center, New Mexico (personal). Neue Galerie im Kunstlerhaus, Munich, Germany (personal) Institute of Art History, Mainz, Germany (personal). Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, Urbana III (personal). Twentieth Century Painting, Bazalel National Museum, Israel. Print International, Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio.
1963 Visits New York for his personal exhibition at World House Galleries. Jerrold Morris International Gallery, Toronto (personal) World House Galleries, New York (personal). Theater der Stadt Lunen, Westphalia, Germany (personal). International of Art, Riverside Museum, New York.
1964-80 Spyropoulos as the classicist of abstraction. Development of his gesture and o symbolic motifs.
1964 An important event: works shown at the Documenta III exhibition, Kassel, Germany. Sheafer Art Gallery, Grimmel College, Iowa (personal). Fränkische Galerie der Stadt Nürnberg, Germany (personal). Galerie des Deux Mondes, TWA Flight Center, J.F. Kennedy Airport, New York (personal). Carnegie International of Art, Pittsburgh.
1965 David Jones Art Gallery, Sydney, Australia (personal). Galerie Arnaud, Paris (personal)
1966 January: made Commander of the Royal Order of the Phoenix. The Israel National Museum, Jerusalem, Israel (personal). 1967 February: first presentation of his work on television. 1969 An important event: a personal exhibition at he National collection of Fine Arts of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
1975 Documenta Sammlung, Kunstverein, Kassel, Germany.
1976 December: settles into a new house at 5 Faidras St, Ekali. This house is Spyropoulos' dream come true: home, studio and museum together. Continues to enjoy close friendship with the sculptors Yorgos Zongolopoulos, Achilleas Apergis. Yannis Parmakellis and Thodoros Papadimitriou. The engraver Dimitris Yannoukakis is also a close friend.
1978 Awarded the Gottfried von Herder Prize by Vienna University.
1980-87 Final period in the shaping of the painted surface. Mastery and development of the mixed technique (pieces of cloth, sacking and newspapers) in a narrow range of tones.
1986 Spyropoulos' last personal exhibition, at the Nees Morphes gallery. Publication of an album of his engravings. On 25 November, he is the subject of a special program in the 'Paraskinio' TV series.
1989 The Workers' Center publishes a book entitled Jannis Spyropoulos, a professional analysis of Spyropoulos' entire oeuvre by the critic and art historian Efi Strousa.
1990 On the evening of 18 May, Jannis Spyropoulos dies at home. On 21 May, he is interred in Kifissia Cemetry. Yorgos Zongolopoulos creates a sculpture to adorn the tomb of his old friend. In November, formation of the Jannis Spyropoulos Foundation, housed in the residence and museum in Ekali. The Foundation has the following purposes: to collect, study and present the paintings of Jannis Spyropoulos, and to support talented young painters by establishing an annual competition in honor of the artists, and to promote his work in general.