"Spyros Papaloukas was born in the village of Desfina on Mount Parnassos, near Delphi. He graduated from the Athens School of Fine Arts of the National Technical University, winning six awards during his years of study there. He continued his studies in Paris at art schools there such as the Académie Julian, Grande Chaumière and other independent schools. During his residence in Paris, he participated in exhibitions and was commissioned to dovarious interior design works. He was called back to Greece and drafted to take part in the Asia Minor Campaign as a war artist and exhibited his work in the grand Wartime Exhibition at the Zappeion Hall in Athens in 1922. His main themes focused on the Greek landscapes of Attica, the islands of Aegina and Lesvos, Mount Parnassos and Mount Athos and he exhibited his paintings in Thessaloniki in 1924. He continued his work in Attica and on the island of Salamina. With these paintings he participated in group exhibitions of the Association of Greek Artists, Omada Tehnis [Art Group], Stathmi, and in all the Panhellenic Exhibitions both in Greece and abroad (France, London, Sweden, Rome, Yugoslavia, Egypt, Canada etc) where he won worldwide critical acclaim. During his stay in Greece, he created great works for public spaces such as the Church of Annunciation in the town of Amfissa, the Heraklion Archaeological Museum in Crete, the Law School chapel, the Mega Spileo Monastery, schools and other public buildings. He served as a set designer of the National Theatre (when this was directed by Fotos Politis) and the Kotopouli Theatre. He taught free-hand design in the capacity of professor for many years at the Industrial School, the Sivitanideion School and the Architectural School of the National Technical University. Since 1939 he has been the Director of the Athens Municipal Art Gallery." Text by Spyros Papaloukas
Spyros Papaloukas is born in the village of Desfina on Mount Parnassos, Greece to (parents) Haralambos and Asimina Papalouka née Pyrovolou. His father, a captain, dies young when the artist is six years old.
He attends primary school in his village and receives his first painting lessons from his brother-in-law Nikolaos Papakonstantinou, who recognizes the boy’s artistic talent very early on.
He arrives in Athens for the first time and is hired as a shop assistant in a paint shop in the port of Piraeus.
He graduates from a secondary school in the town of Chrissos.
He gains his first commission to paint The Great Head Priest and then the panels of the Agios Dimitrios Church in Desfina.
He attends the Athens School of Fine Arts and during his studies his wins seven first prizes.
He continues his studies in Paris at the Grand Chaumière and the Académie Julian. He participates in many art exhibitions and is commissioned to decorate a mansion in Versailles.
He takes part in the Asia Minor Campaign as a war artist along with Periklis Vyzantios and Pavlos Rodokanakis. The Ministry of the Asia Minor Army organizes a grand wartime exhibition of these three artists’ works at the Zappeion Hall in Athens. Papaloukas receives rave reviews from art critics Fotos Politis and Zaharias Papantoniou and the ministry decides to transfer the exhibition to Smyrna despite the tragic outcome of the
Campaign. This proves catastrophic to the artist since 500 of his works are burnt on the train while it is en route to Smyrna [Izmir] during the days of the city’s demise.
Deeply disappointed by the interruption in his studies and the loss of his paintings, Papaloukas retires to the island of Aegina where he throws himself into the study
of the Greek landscape. In the company of his inseparable friend, Stratis Doukas, and with architect Dimitris Pikionis and author Kostas
Varnalis, he goes through his “Aegina” period.
He exhibits his works at the Greek Women Lyceum Dance Foundation, where his wife-to-be, Olga Evangelou works.
Stratis Doukas leaves for Mt Athos, where he prepares for Papaloukas’s arrival. Papaloukas soon follows with the intention of studying the Mount Athos landscape and Byzantine art.
The two friends remain at the monasteries of Mount Athos for about one year, during which the artist works incessantly, resulting in his “Mount Athos” period.
At this stage Papaloukas wishes to exhibit only in Thessaloniki and he enthusiastically organizes his first solo exhibition, which also happens to be the first art exhibition in Greece’s second largest city. He selects Thessaloniki’s distinctive monument, the White Tower, which he remodels into Thessaloniki’s first exhibition space.
Once again Stratis Doukas prepares for his friend’s arrival, this time at the town of Mytilene on the island of Lesvos, where Papaloukas stays for six months, creating the works that will make up his “Mytilene” period. Papaloukas is appointed Professor of Freehand Drawing and Interior Design Drawing at the Industrial School. At the Hosios Loukas monastery he studies the Byzantine mosaics, of which he creates copies and at the same time he paints landscapes of the Mt. Parnassus region.
Along with his friends Stratis Doukas, Dimitris Pikionis and Nikos Velmos, he goes to the island of Salamina, where he works non-stop on his paintings, which will make up his “Salamina” period.
He works mostly on set design for various theatres. He executes the sets for the play Vasilikos by Pavlos Matesis at the Greek National Theatre and a series of wood etchings based on Shakespeare’s Anthony and Cleopatra.
He marries Olga Evangelou from Aivali [Ayvalik],Turkey.
He wins the first prize in a Panhellenic contest and is commissioned to paint the icons for the Church of Annunciation in the town of Amfissa.
Invited by poet Angelos Sikelianos, he participates in the preparations for the Delphic Festival in collaboration with Dimitris Pikionis.
While Papaloukas is away in Amfissa, his good friend and best man, Dimitris Pikionis, undertakes the task of building the artist’s atelier and home in Kypriadou district of Athens.
He designs the sets for the play Asia by Henri-René Lenormand at the Kotopouli Theatre. He is the editor of the art publication School Buildings of the Technical
Chamber. At the same time he decorates façades and interiors of blocks of flats and school buildings. He participates in the Omada Tehnis [Art Group] and Greek Artist Association exhibitions. With Stratis Doukas, Dimitris Pikionis, artist Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas [Ghika] and Socrates Karantinos, he publishes the periodical To Trito Mati [The Third Eye], which becomes a watershed in the intellectual and artistic
scene. He is appointed professor of art design at the Sivitanideion School.
The Ministry of Education commissions him to paint the icons in Law School chapel the church, to decorate the Megalo Spileo Monastery and the Heraklion Archaeological
Museum in Crete. He prepares all the designs
and mechanicals for the latter, but does not have time to execute them due to the onset of WWII.
He is appointed art consultant to the city planning office of the Ministry of the Administration of the Capital City and of the Athens Municipality Technical Services, during which time he decorates many buildings and complexes. Athens' Mayor, Konstantinos Kotzias, reassigns him to the Municipal Art Gallery and places him in charge. Spyros Papaloukas devotes himself whole-heartedly to
re-organizing the Art Gallery’s collections, restoring them and setting up the first significant re-exhibition of them.
He is appointed Director of the Ufa and Olympia theatres, and collaborates with Marika Kotopouli, creating a series of set designs.
He teaches freehand drawing at the Architectural School of the National Polytechnic, from which he is eventually
forced to resign.
With 22 works, he participates in the first exhibition organized by the Greek State at the London Royal Academy. The pioneers of Greek visual arts take part in this exhibition and Papaloukas is awarded for his work entitled Still Life.
He participates in the Panhellenic Art Exhibition and wins the silver medal.
He participates in art events organized by the Greek State in Egypt, Belgium, Yugoslavia, Italy, Canada, Holland, Sweden and the United States.
He is appointed Professor of the Art Atelier of the Athens School of Fine Arts.
3 June 1957
Spyros Papaloukas dies at the age of 65. The city renames the square in front of the artist’s atelier after him and he is buried with public honours.
GCI EXHIBITS CURATOR