TAKIS EFSTATHIOU (Greece, Athens b. 1944 / act: Athens and New York)

Takis EfstathiouTakis Efstathiou is a well-known fine art dealer. His firm is associated with the largest private and public collections in the world's art capitals, and has received acknowledgement in many a major exhibition catalog of museums and galleries.

Efstathiou's grandfather took off from Mytilini to seek work in Moscow, where he married Vera Pavlona Tchernova. At the outbreak of the Russian Revolution his grandparents were forced to leave Russia and to find refuge in Greece. The family of his mother were living in Caucasus for three generations, and were forced out of the region in the outbreak of the Second World War on account of their being foreigners. No sooner had they arrived in Athens, than the German occupation of Greece began. His mother met his father, Constantinos Efstathiou, and together had a family that lived initially at Vrilissia, then at Nea Smyrne, and finally in the area of Fix Brewers. The times were difficult and the only hope seemed to be America. Thus, the father prepared his family, and in the winter of 1963 they arrived by ship in New York. The young Efstathiou engaged with various art-related activities: studying theater in studios, assisting the artist Nikos Icaris, experimenting with painting and photography. Towards the end of 1960 Efstathiou met Alexander Iolas, who encouraged him to engage with the art market, a field in which Efstathiou excelled.

Initially, in 1973 Efstathiou opened Tchernov Gallery in Manhattan's 57th Street, next to Carnegie Hall. This Gallery commemorates his grandmother's maiden name. There he presented works by American artists, with the exception of the first major exhibition of Christos Caras in 1974. Tchernov Gallery was closed in 1975 as a result of the pressures of the Cold War. Subsequently, he began private dealing with major collections in Japan, until 1977, when he opened Ericson Gallery on Madison Avenue and 74th Street, near The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim. There he displayed historic exhibitions featuring works of Steve Gianakos, Hans Hinterreiter, Claes Oldenburg, Betty Parsons, Larry Rivers, Theodore Stamos, and others. Ericson Gallery lasted 8 years, until 1986, when Efstathiou turned towards dealing with collections and major art institutions.

It is worth noting that George Costakis, the renowned collector of the Russian avant garde, when in the US, was a frequent visitor to Ericson Gallery. At the former's wish, Efstathiou negotiated with Michael Govan and Thomas Krens, of the Guggenheim Museum, to purchase the Costakis Estate, but the Ministry of Culture in Greece prevailed, bringing the Costakis Collection to Moni Lazariston in Thessaloniki. Efstathiou has also been advisor to the Hans Hinterreiter Foundation in Zurich, and in 1986 initiated an exhibition of his work that travelled through the Herbert Johnson Museum, the M.I.T., the Duke University, the Museum of Art of Pennsylvania. In his forward to the catalog, Thomas W. Leavitt, former Director of the Herbert Johnson Museum, writes: "Hintereiter's introduction to the United States came largely through the interest of Takis Efstathiou of the Ericson Gallery in New York. It was there that I first was struck by the compelling geometry of Hinterreiter's paintings and agreed to host this first museum of his work in America." He exhibited Hinterreiter's art again at the Hiro Gallery of Tokyo in 1993, and at the Guggenheim in 1998. Moreover, Efstathiou offered an exhibition of Theodore Stamos from his personal collection at the Hiro Gallery in 1995. Furthermore, Thomas Messer, director emeritus of the Guggeheim Foundation, collaborated with Efstathiou on the de-accession of artworks in the 1980s. Through the hands of Efstathiou passed works by Marc Chagall, Robert Delaunay, Rudolf Bauer, Baroness Hilla Rebay, Jacques Villon, and others. At various times Efstathiou has supported The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Herbert Johnson Museum, and other American institutions with significant gifts.

Throughout his career, Efstathiou made friends, and cultivated his relationship with all the artists of the Greek Diaspora. ACG Art greatfully acknowledges Efstathiou's donation of art from his private collection, with works by artists mentioned in the 'Benefaction' section.

[Megakles 08/2005]