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YANNIS MORALIS (Greece, Epirus, Arta 1916-2009 / act: Athens)

Yannis Moralis Yannis Moralis was born in 1916 at Arta of Epirus, Greece. He studied at the Athens School for Fine Arts - ASFA (1931-1936) painting with Dimitris Geraniotis, Costas Parthenis and Umbertos Argyros, and etching with Yannis Kefallinos. With a scholarship from the Academy of Athens (1937) he studied mosaics and frescos in Rome. Subsequently he attended lessons on painting and fresco in Paris, at the École des Beaux Arts and on mosaics at the É cole des Arts et Métiers. He has presented his work in many solo and group exhibitions both in Greece and abroad, having had his first personal show in Athens (1959). He has realized a series of engravings and book illustrations and has designed the stage scenery and costumes of many theater and dancing performances. He has also created a number of mural decorations. He has been awarded with the Painting Award of the Panhellenic Exhibition (1940) and the Gold Medal of the Munich International Exhibition (1973). In 1947 he was elected professor of the preparatory workshop of ASFA, and in 1957 professor of the painting workshop of that same School. He has been named Commander of the Royal Order of Phoenix (1965). Yannis Moralis lived and worked in Athens and Aegina Island. Hed died at the age of 93 on 20 December 2009 in Athens.

[Megakles Rogakos 12/2009]

One of the seminal representatives of the local contemporary art scene, Greek painter Yannis Moralis, who was also a professor at the Athens School of Fine Arts between 1947 and 1983, died on December 20 at the age of 93. He was buried at the First Cemetery on December 21 in a close family circle. § Moralis was respected both as an artist and as a man for his manners, his integrity and even for the way he dressed. "Le style c'est l'homme," National Gallery director Marina Lambraki-Plaka had told the Athens News on the occasion of Moralis' last retrospective in 2008 at the Museum of Contemporary Art - Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation on Andros. § "We bid farewell to one of the greatest art figures in contemporary Greece," said Culture Minister Pavlos Yeroulanos upon hearing the news of Moralis' death. "As long as he lived he gave us the confidence that we are still linked to the generations before us and to the events of the era we were born in... His loss will be deeply felt by the art world and Greece as a whole." § Born in Arta in 1916, Moralis settled in Athens in 1927 following a brief sojourn in Preveza. He started to attend a Sunday class at the Fine Arts School until 1931 when - at the age of 15 - he joined a preparatory course for the school. Dimitris Yeraniotis, Konstantinos Parthenis, Umbertos Argyros and Yannis Kefallinos were his professors, while his classmates - including Yannis Tsarouchis, Christos Kapralos and Nikos Nikolaou - would become his friends. By the time of Moralis' retirement in 1983, nine out of ten professors at the Fine Arts School had been his students. § His influences ranged from Greek art and Byzantine iconography to neoclassicism, romanticism and realism. Moralis delved into the timeless topics of love and the agony of death. Geometric abstraction and a focus on the female figure were central to his art. The artist, who also designed sets and costumes for National Theatre and National Ballet performances as well as illustrations for George Seferis' and Odysseas Elytis' poetry, often returned to the female figure in an attempt to decipher its riddles. § Distant and elusive, Yannis Moralis rarely gave interviews. At his retrospective show on Andros in the summer of 2008 he had said of his shying away from publicity: "One of the reasons I don't give interviews is that I feel the spectrum of my paintings is reduced afterwards. I want my works to be free like myself, as I want the viewer to feel free to read in them the meanings he or she wishes."

[Christy Papadopoulou, Athens News 15/03/2010, #13370, p.28]

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