Yannis Gaïtis was born 1923 in Athens. He studied briefly at the Athens School of Fine Arts - ASFA (1942-1944) under Konstandinos Parthenis and Ioannis Filippotis. In Paris he attended the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and came into contact with the major trends of the twentieth century. He presented more than personal exhibitions in Greece and abroad. Of particular note was his major retrospective in the National Gallery of Athens in 1984; he died a week after the opening. He showed his work in numerous international group exhibitions, most notably the Bienal de São Paulo (1967). In 2001 a copy of one of his works was installed on the underground railway platform at Larissis Station, Athens.
Yannis Gaïtis, famous for his anonymous men depicting the uniformity and sterility of mass living, had a studio in Paris for the last twenty-six years of his life. His work was introduced in the United States in 1964 at the Carnegie International Exhibition in Pittsburgh. Since then, his blank-faced, look-alike figures have stood at attention in exhibitions both here and abroad, including the Tel Aviv Museum, Israel; Salon de Mai, Paris; Bienal de São Paulo ; Muzej Savremene Umetnosti, Belgrade; Musée d';Art Moderne de Skopie, Yugoslavia; Des Centre Cultural des Beaux Arts, Fernand, France and Municipalité de Nikea, Athens.
Gaitis started off with representational art and gradually turned to abstraction and gestural painting. An interest in sculpture was another constant in his career, again focusing on abstraction. The 'little people', his personal trademark, originally appeared on a small scale, and in 1967 became larger and were arranged around a central theme. In the seventies, they became more stylised, faceless, and numerous, denouncing the mechanisms of contemporary society. In 1974, they acquired a third dimension and were being arranged in environments or taking part in happenings. Soon they were transformed into children's toys, everyday objects, and items of furniture, adorned fabrics, and featured in fashion shows and a cinema film.
[Megakles Rogakos 06/2005]
ZENETOS, T. C. Yannis Gaïtis 1970 Themes of Interior Space, Athens, No.2, p.189-190
LYDAKIS, STELIOS 1976, p.302-303
VAKALO, ELENI 1981, p.88, 90, 101, 105
VAKALO, ELENI 1983, p.95
CATALOGUE Yannis Gaïtis 1984 National Gallery & Alexandrros Soutzos Museum, Athens
VAKALO, ELENI 1985, p.63
SCALTSA 1990, p.55
PAPADOPOULOU, BIA Ten Years from the Death of Yannis Gaïtis 09-10/1994 The Art Magazine, Athens, No.10, p.40-45
CHRISTOU, CHRYSANTHOS 1996, p.233-234
CATALOG Greek Artists: 16 th-20 th Centuries 1997 Melissa Editions , Athens, v.1, p.234-236 [Greek]
ADAMOPOULOU 2000, p.70-72
COSTOPOULOU, ANNIE / GAÏTIS-CHARRAT, LORETTA / ZACHAROPOULOS, DENYS / KARRA, MARILÉNA Yannis Gaïtis: Catalogue Raisonné 2003 J.F. Costopoulos Foundation, Athens [Greek & French]
CATALOG The Years of Defiance - The art of the 70s in Greece 2005 National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens Concert Hall, Athens