Demetrios Galanis

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Demetrios Galanis by Georgios Roilos

Demetrios Galanis (Greek: Δημήτριος Γαλάνης, 17 May 1879, Athens – 20 March 1966, Paris) as an early twentieth-century Greek artist and contemporary and friend of Picasso. In 1920, the year he completed his Seated Nude (Private collection) he exhibited alongside such major figures of modern art as Matisse and Braque, while from 1921 on he also exhibited alongside Juan Gris, Dufy, Chagall and Picasso.

By the early 1920s Galanis was famous in France and preparing for shows in Brussels, London, and New York. In 1920–21 he frequently exhibited in Paris and in 1922 his first one-man exhibition received the enthususiastic critical response that established his reputation. Seated Nude was among the pictures exhibited, and in an introduction to the exhibition André Malraux described the artist's work as "having the power to stir emotions equivalent to that of Giotto."

This show established Galanis’ reputation as a painter and confirmed the favourable opinions already expressed on the quality of his work. Critics of his time paid much more attention to his figurative work than his landscapes, confirming the well-established view that Galanis’ first and foremost concern was his love for the human form.

Galanis received greater critical acclaim abroad in his lifetime than any other Greek modern artist of the early 20th century. The French state honoured him with the highest distinctions: full professor at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris and a lifelong member of the Académie française.

Having moved to Paris in 1900, living close to Montmartre for fifty years in a house which is now musée de Montmartre, Galanis developed his artistic talent beyond painting. He was also known for his illustrative wood-engravings in books, such as the Limited Editions Club of Sophocles' Oedipus the King and the Cresset Press edition of John Milton's Paradise Lost. The Limited Editions Club published 1500 signed copies in 1955 and the sister organization, Heritage Press, then reprinted unsigned volumes.

The most significant collection of Galanis' work can be found at the Teloglion Foundation at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, though examples can also be found in London's Tate Gallery. Galanis' most famous Seated Nude sold at auction for $221,860 in May 2006.

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