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Konstantinos Maleas (Κωνσταντίνος Μαλέας) (Istanbul, 1879 - Athens, 1928) was one of the most important Post-impressionist Greek painters of the 20th century. Along with Konstantinos Parthenis, he considered the most important Modern Artist in Greece.[1]

Biography

Maleas was born and grew up in Istanbul, far away from the Greek artistic centre in Athens. The young painter avoided therefore the influence of the Munich School that dominated Athenian Art. He studied at the Phanar Greek Orthodox College and then left for Paris in 1901 at an age of 23 years old to study initially architecture. In Paris he eventually decided to study painting until 1908 near Henri Martin. In 1913 he returned to Greece, initially in Thessaloniki and then based in Athens. In 1917 he became a member of the avant-guard art group Ομάδας Τέχνης that imported the international contemporary art movements to Greece. He travelled extensively in Greece, Western Europe, Palestine and Egypt where he drew some of the subjects for his famous landscapes. Apart from painting, he was also involved in the public discussion on the modernisation of the Greek language. He was a friend of Glenos, Delmouzos and Triantafylidis. He has illustrated the first alphabet book in the new modern Greek language Demotiki (Αλφαβητάρι με τον ήλιο). He has written articles to the newspapers Nouma, Elefthero Vima and in many art journals. Maleas has been recognised for his artistic contribution from the Greek Government which awarded him with the Highest Acknowledgement of Letters and Arts.[2]

Work

Maleas work has been influenced by the work of Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh and from the art movements of symbolism, impressionism and fauvism. His paintings are characterised by the very light and bright colours, the large brushes that revolutionalised the stagnant Athenian art of the time. Most art critics have condemned his work snd it was only Fotos Politis that recognised the value of Maleas work and urged the young artists to learn from Maleas paintings.[1] Maleas is still one of the most popular Greek modern artists and his works are exhibited at the National Gallery of Athens and elsewhere.

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