NICO HADJIKYRIACO GHIKA / dit: GHIKA (Greece, Athens 1906-1994 / act: Athens - Paris - London)

Nico Hadjikyriaco Ghika was born in Athens on 26 February 1906, and died on 3 September 1994.

A student of Parthenis while in Athens, he left in 1922 for Paris where he pursued his studies attending courses on Greek and French Literature and Aesthetics at the Sorbonne, as well as on Painting and Printmaking at the Académie Ranson under Roger Bissière and Dimitris Galanis. He lived in Paris until 1934, but visited Athens frequently during these years. His first exhibition in Paris was at the Salon des Indépendants in 1923; subsequently he participated in various group exhibitions at the Salon des Tuileries and the Salon des Surindépendents. His first one-man-show was at the Galerie Percier in Paris in 1927, introduced by Maurice Raynal. His works were first exhibited in Athens in 1928 together with others by the sculptor Michael Tombros.

In 1936 and 1937 Ghika collaborated with the architect Pikionis, the poet Papatzonis, and the stage-designer Karantinos in the publication of the journal 'To Trito Mati' (The Third Eye). In 1941 he was elected professor of Drawing at the School of Architecture of the Polytechnic University of Athens where he taught until 1958. In 1970 he represented Greece at the 25th Venice Biennale with 17 paintings. In 1970 the Academy of Athens awarded him the Prize of Excellence for the Fine Arts and three years later he was elected a full member of the Academy. In 1986 he was elected an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Arts in London.

Throughout his career, a total of 46 one-man shows were held in Athens, Berlin, Geneva, New York, London, and Paris; among the most important are the retrospective of 1946 at the British Council in Athens, the retrospective at the Whitechapel Gallery in London in 1968, the major retrospective of 1973 at the National Gallery in Athens with 164 works, and the exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London in 1988.

In 1991 the Ghika Gallery in Athens, where a significant part of Ghika's works is permanently exhibited, was donated by the artist to the Benaki Museum, and was officially opened to the public. His works can be found in numerous private collections in Greece, Europe, and the USA, as well as in various museums such as the Musée d' Art Moderne - Paris, the Tate Gallery - London, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art - New York. The National Gallery in Athens exhibits 46 of his works permanently at its Ghika Wing.

Apart from painting, sculpture, and printmaking, Ghika has been creatively involved in the designing of sets and costumes for various theatrical productions such as Aristophanes' Clouds at Royal Theater, Athens (1951) and Comédie Française, Paris (1952), and the ballet production of André Gide’s Persephone with music by Stravinsky at Covent Garden - London (1961). He has illustrated a variety of books, such as the Odyssey by Kazantzakis (1958), Cavafy's Poems (1966), Longos' Daphnis and Chloe (1970), and Aristophanes' Lysistrata (1977). In addition he has published numerous books and articles on Architecture and Aesthetics, as well as essays on the character of Greek Art.

In 1977 The American College of Greece commissioned Ghika to design and sculpt Spring, a medallion awarded to individuals for distinguished service to the College. In 1993 President John S. Bailey conferred upon Ghika the College's honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters for his distinguished achievements in arts and letters.

[Megakles 12/2004]

ILIOPOULOU-ROGAN, DORA Ta Parallila (The Parallels) 1980 Polyplano Editions, Athens [Greek]
GEORGAKOPOULOS, LEONIDAS N. N. Hadjikyriaco Ghika: Sculpture 1934-1984 1984 To Trito Mati, Athens [Greek]
ANTHOLOGY: TSIROPOULOS, KOSTAS E. (Ed.) Portrait of N. Hadjikyriaco Ghika 1998 Euthyni Editions, Athens [Greek]
KRITSELI-PROVIDI, IOANNA Ancient Greece As Seen By N. Hadjikyriaco Ghica 1995 KETHEA, Athens
KYRIAZI, NELLI Ghika: Landscapes and Interiors 2006 Munipal Gallery of Athens, Athens, Athens
ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES Reincarnated Painting: Sculpture by Ghika 2006 The American College of Greece - ACG Art, Athens [English / Greek insert]