Niki Goulandris was born in 1925 in Athens. She studied political and economic sciences at the University of Athens, and furthered her education in philosophy at the Goethe University of Frankfurt.
Goulandris has a parallel career in art. From a very early age, she took painting courses in the workshop of Constantine Artemis. Her early work, with which she took part in Panhellenic exhibitions of 1952, 1960, and 1963, was mainly landscapes and religious subjects. From 1965 onwards she dedicated herself to botanical illustration, and studied the works of great artists in museum collections of France and the British Museum, London. Goulandris' art evolved to excel, especially in botanical illustration, having painted about 800 Greek indigenous plants, many of which have been issued in print and have made their way in books, such as Wild Flowers of Greece of 1968 by Constantine Goulimis, Sir George Taylor, and William T. Stearn. Goulandris has presented her work at the American Museum of Natural History in New York in 1984.
Aside of her art, Goulandris has become a well-known personality in the field of culture. Her message combines ecological principles with cultural values and she has contributed significantly in nature conservation while also promoting man's cultural achievements. She strongly believes that the hope for the future lies in the interplay between biological and cultural processes, which would add new dimension to the understanding of human situations.
Goulandris' life has been dedicated to learning, to the generation of new ideas and scientific thought. Supported in all her endeavours, both spiritually and morally, by her husband Angelos Goulandris, she maintained her independent spirit and inquiring mind. Her strong conviction was that the world needed a new code of values for the future if a proper equilibrium between man and society was to be achieved. Her beliefs have been successfully put to practice as reflected in her career and accomplishments. Niki Goulandris, together with Angelos, co-founded the Goulandris Museum of Natural History in 1965 in order to promote interest in the natural sciences, to raise the awareness of the public, in general, and in particural to call its attention to the need to protect Greece's natural wildlife habitats and species in the danger of extinction. For the needs of the Museum, Golandris travels world-wide to visit natural reserves as well as threatened ecosystems under different cultural conditions in the North and the South.
Invited to lecture in Universities and other institutions, Goulandris has spent the past 15 years leading the campaign to promote cultural values linking nature, man and society. She has been elected Woman of Europe for 1991.
Presently, Niki Goulandris is active in Athens, Greece.
[Megakles Rogakos 11/2005]
BIBLIOGRAPHY: The Art of Botanical Illustration 1994
SPOURS, JUDY Drawn from Nature 03/1984 Connoiseur
STEARN, WILLIAM T. / DAVIS, PETER H. Peonies of Greece: A Taxonomic and Historical Survey of the Genus Paeonia in Greece 04/1984 GNHM Athens
OWERKA, CAROLYN Niki Goulandris 10/1984 Arts Magazine, New York
CONSTANTINE GOULIMIS / GEORGE TAYLOR / WILLIAM T. STEARN Wild Flowers of Greece 1968 Athens