Gaitis Yannis

Yannis Gaitis was born in Athens in 1923. He studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts under Par­thenis and graduated in 1951. In 1945, six years before his graduation, he held his first solo exhibition at his house in Athens. In 1944, 1945 1946 and 1947 he caused a stir with his exhibitions at Parnassos Literary Society. He was among the founding members, together with Alekos Kontopoulos, of the group “The Extremists” (1949), and together they participated in the Sao Paulo Art Biennial in 1953. In 1954 he settled in Paris on a scholarship by the Evangelistria Foundation of Tinos where he continued his studies at the École des Beaux Arts and the Académie de la Grande Chaumière.

He presented his work in several solo exhibitions, among others, at the Galerie Diderot in Paris (1957) and at the Galerie André Droulez (1958) and in the same year he signed a contract with the Facchetti Gallery. In 1959, in Rome, he joined the Gruppo Sigma team, together with Kaniaris, Kessanlis, Kontos and Tsoklis. He returned permanently to Greece in 1974. He was an extremely prolific artist and presented his work in several solo and group exhibitions. Often annually, he held simultaneous exhibitions abroad mainly in France but also in Italy, the USA, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Cyprus but also in Greece. He also participated in major group exhibitions held at museums and at international events such as the FIAC in Paris, the Expo 82 in Bari, the Europalia in Brussels, etc.

In collaboration with the director Serge Bergon, his trademark figure the “little man” was the protagonist of the film Gaitis le Baladin (1971). Yannis Gaitis died in Athens in 1984, a week after the opening of his large retrospective exhibition at the National Gallery. Posthumously, in 2003, the monograph —edited by his daughter Loretta Gaitis-Charrat— Catalogue raisonné de l’œuvre de Yannis Gaitis. Peintures, sculptures, constructions (Angers, 2003) was published and in 2006, a retrospective exhibition of his work was held at the Benaki Museum. He was a member of the Chamber of Fine Arts of Greece.

Artist's artworks