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NASSOS DAPHNIS (Greece, Laconia, Krokees 1914-2010 / act: New York)

Nassos Daphnis Nassos Daphnis was born on 23 July 1914 at Krokees, a small town south of Sparta in Laconia prefecture, Greece. As a youngster, at age sixteen, Daphnis departed for America from Athens, where for the first time he experienced the art of classical Greece and fell under the spell of the perfection and pure geometry of the Parthenon; a unique moment that would remain as a source of inspiration throughout his life. In New York he took up painting, while working in a florist shop. During the Second World War, he was in the Camouflage Corps in Italy. A long-time exhibitor with the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York, Daphnis is known for his Geometric Abstraction, especially colorful and precisely crafted.

Daphnis first went through a period of biomorphic abstraction before approaching hard-edged geometry. Although associated with the most influential painters on the American scene during his developmental years, Daphnis was never identified with a school or trend. When theories of Geometric Abstraction were developing in the post-War period, Daphnis' work, characteristically similar to the artists of the New York School , was substantively different. In the 1950s he developed his Color Plane Theory, which is based upon exhaustive perceptual investigations of color, each color having its own range of position in space, possessing strong spiritual implications. Daphnis focuses on color as a principal element. He admires pure red, yellow, and blue for the energy and dynamism, which they intrinsically convey. The purity of colors that enamels yield enabled Daphnis to produce the hard-edged abstraction and architectonic composition that are the essence of his art.

Nassos Daphnis presented the following personal exhibition: Leo Castelli Gallery, New York City, NY (1959, 1960, 1961, 1963, 1965, 1968, 1971, 1975, 1977, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988); Nassos Daphnis: Retrospective 1958-1972: Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, NY (1973); Nassos Daphnis: Monoprints, Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, NY (1973); Nassos Daphnis: Paintings From the 1950s, Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, NY (1980); Nassos Daphnis: 30 Years with Leo Castelli, Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, NY (1990); Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Centre, Athens (1991); Nassos Daphnis: PX-1969 Paintings, Eaton Fine Art, West Palm Beach, FL (2003). He also took part in the following group exhibitions: Opening Exhibition of the New Gallery, Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, NY (1959); Summary, Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, NY (1960); American Exhibition 64 th Annual, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL (1961); An Exhibition in Progress, Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, NY (1961); Geometric Abstraction in America, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (1962); Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, NY (1962, 1976, 1979); Drawing, Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, NY (1963); 10 th Anniversary, Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, NY (1967); Benefit Exhibition for Referendum, Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, NY (1970); Drawing, Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, NY (1972, 1974); In 3 Dimensions, Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, NY (1974); 25th Anniversary, Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, NY (1982); Perspectives II: Five Decades of Seminal Work, Kouros Gallery, New York, NY (2002); Re-Examining Abstract Art: Part 2, Anita Shapolsky Gallery, New York, NY (2003); New York School Artists: 1950s & 1960s, Anita Shapolsky Gallery, New York, NY (2004); Paper Works by Abstract Masters, Anita Shapolsky Gallery, New York, NY (2006); Nassos Daphnis & Ernest Briggs: Opposing Forces, Anita Shapolsky Gallery, New York, NY (2006); Ithaca Regained, Kouros Gallery, New York City, NY (2007); Masters of Abstraction Exhibition, Anita Shapolsky Gallery, New York, NY (2008); Paper Proposes Pleasure & Sculptors, Anita Shapolsky Gallery, New York, NY (2009). Artworks by Nassos Daphnis are kept at the following collections: The American College of Greece, Athens; Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art - MMCA, Thessaloniki, Greece; MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Reading Public Museum, Reading, PA; and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN.

Nassos Daphnis died at 96 on 23 November 2010 in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

[Megakles Rogakos 11/2010]

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
ALBUM Nassos Daphnis: Paintings & Sculpture 1958-1972 1973 Leo Castelli Gallery, New York
ZONA, LUIS A. Nassos Daphnis: Color and Form - A Retrospective 1993 Boca Raton Museum of Art & The Butler Institute of American Art

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