Mourelou Orfanou Elli
Artwork date:
pencil on paper
26,5Χ22 cm


Mourelou Orfanou Elli

Elli Orfanou was born in Piraeus on April 26, 1922. Her parents were Ioannis Mourelos and Aikaterini Papazoglou who originated from Eastern Rumelia (present day Bulgaria). She had an older brother, Giorgos Mourelos, who was professor of philosophy at the Aristotle University of Thessalonica and corresponding member of the French Academy, and two older sisters, Maria Mourelou – Korakitou and Vassiliki Mourelou. The latter was professor of French Language at the American College for Women, the French Institute and the Panteion University of Athens.

She was married to Lambros Orfanos (1916 – 1995), an eminent engraver and painter and director of the engraving department at the Bank of Greece.

He studied Painting at the Athens School of Fine Arts (1940 – 1947) under D. Biskinis, U. Argyros and Konstantinos Parthenis for four years. She taught art at the American College for Women in Elliniko, from 1947 to 1952.

From 1952 to 1956 she studied Painting at the École Supérieure Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris, under J. T. Dupas and J. Souverbie and specialized in mosaic painting at the École d’Art Italien (subsequently renamed to Institut de la Mosaïque de Ravenne, Beaux Arts de Paris) under internationally renowned painter Gino Severini (1883 – 1966) and Aurelio De Felice. Gino Severini, in early 20th century, was among the founding members of the Futurism movement in Europe, together with F. T. Marinetti, U. Boccioni and G. Balla.

In Paris, together with her husband, Lambros Orfanos, they met their great friend P. Tetsis, as well as K. Grammatopoulos, Y. Gaitis, Gabriela Simosi, Dikos Vyzantios, Ch. Vogiatzis and K. Panopoulos. She was also a friend of Y. Moralis and V. Katraki, A. Prokopiou, E. and Lili Prevelakis, Mr and Mrs Sisilianos, T. Konstantinidis, V. Salliverou, and V. Psychopedis and of several eminent intellectuals of the time.

Upon her return to Greece, she continued to work at the American College for Women in Athens from 1955 to 1979 where she served as Director of the Fine Arts Department alongside distinguished colleagues such as Mary Hadjinikoli Sarafianou, Zoe Alafouzou and Giorgos Moschos. She stood out for her great communicative skills and she was a very attentive and caring professor.

She presented her work in group exhibitions (Pan-Hellenic Exhibitions of 1957, 1967, 1971, 1975) and received an award by the Greek National Tourism Organisation for a poster advertising Greece (1961). She was a renowned painter and an expert mosaicist. Elli Orfanou passed away in Athens on February 20, 2011.


  • Embassy of Greece in Vienna, Austria
  • Embassy of Greece in Budapest, Hungary
  • Embassy of Greece in Pretoria, South Africa
  • Consulate General of Greece in Istanbul, Turkey
  • Hambis Municipal Printmaking Museum, Platanisteia, Cyprus
  • Hambis Municipal Printmaking Museum, Nicosia, Cyprus
  • Ministry of Education and Culture of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus
  • Fine Arts School, Paris, France
  • Collection of the École d’Art Italien Gino Severini, Paris, France
  • Fondation Hellénique, Paris, France
  • Istituto Statale d’Arte per il Mosaico “Gino Severini”, Fondazione Flaminia di Ravenna, Ravenna, Italy


  • The National Gallery, Athens
  • Athens Municipal Art Gallery, Athens
  • Museum of Modern Greek Culture, Athens
  • Goulandris Natural History Museum, Athens
  • Lilian Voudouri Music Library of Greece, Athens
  • Historical and Ethnological Society of Greece, Athens
  • Art Collection of the Athens School of Fine Arts, Athens
  • Art Collection of Alpha Bank, Athens
  • National Bank of Greece Cultural Foundation, Athens
  • Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation
  • Ministry of Education, Athens
  • Ministry of Culture, Athens
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Athens
  • Ministry of Tourism, Athens
  • General State Archives, Athens
  • Greek National Tourism Organisation
  • The French Institute, Athens
  • The Italian Institute, Athens
  • Rhodes Municipal Art Gallery, Rhodes
  • Corfu Municipal Art Gallery, Corfu
  • Agrinio Municipal Art Gallery, Agrinio
  • Municipal Art Gallery of Larissa – G. I. Katsigras Museum, Larissa
  • Lamia Municipal Art Gallery – A. Kontopoulos Museum, Lamia
  • Hydra Museum-Historical Archives, Hydra
  • Folklore – Historical Museum of Larissa, Larissa
  • Gyzi Megaron Museum, Santorini
  • Environment Museum of Stymphalia, Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation, Stymphalia
  • Museum of the Olive and Greek Olive Oil, Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation, Sparta
  • National Historical Museum. Lazaros Koundouriotis Historical Mansion. Hydra
  • Angelos and Leto Katakouzenos Foundation, Athens
  • Friends of Music Society, Athens
  • Art Collection of the American College of Greece – Deree College, Athens
  • Collections of Portraits by Greek Artists, Athens
  • Athens Printmaking Art Centre – Pandolfini & Siaterli CNPP, Athens
  • University of Athens Aeginitio Hospital. Programme Athena, Athens
  • Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Greece, Cultural and Educational Office, House of Cyprus, Athens
  • Max Hallecker Conservatory, Athens


Artist's artworks