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 Gregory Kondos  (1923 - )

About: Gregory Kondos
 

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Lived/Active: California/Massachusetts      Known for: modernist-leaning landscape painting

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BIOGRAPHY for Gregory Kondos
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Birth
1923 (Lynn, Massachusetts)
 
Lived/Active
California/Massachusetts

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modernist-leaning landscape painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A resident of Sacramento, California where he has a studio adjacent to his home, Kondos is known for bold, modernist landscape paintings---brightly lit canvases with big cobalt-blue skies, large areas of solid color, flowing rhythm, and simple design.  His work is intended to suggest lonely, solitary aspects of the land.

He was born to Greek immigrant parents in Lynn, Massachusetts, and moved with his family to Sacramento, California in 1927.  His parents encouraged his early art talent, and by 1941, he was attending Sacramento Junior College to study art, but was interrupted by three years on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean during World War II.

He later completed his degree, spent a year at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles and then went to California State University in Sacramento, intending to teach college, which he did at Sacramento Junior College for 27 years.  He retired in 1982, and to honor him, students and faculty named the campus art gallery, which he founded, in his honor.

Some of his early landscapes were influenced by Willem de Kooning and other abstract expressionists, but Wayne Thiebaud, California pop artist and realist, influenced him towards the work that became his hallmark.  Much of his subject matter comes from his travels to Europe including Greece, Yosemite National Park where he especially loves to paint, and from the Southwest, where he has a home in Santa Fe.

In 1995, he was elected to the National Academy of Design in New York, and in 1998, he completed a 570 foot long scene of the Sacramento River in colored and etched glass for the front of the new terminal at the Sacramento International Airport.

Source:
Donald J. Hagerty, Leading the West, pp. 37-38


Biography from Mark Sublette Modern:
Gregory Kondos paints the perceived colors of his environment, whether that might be the forests of Northern California, the mountainous Yosemite National Park, or the shores of his ancestral Greece.

Born in Massachusetts to Greek immigrant parents, Kondos moved to California with his family at a young age. Encouraged by his parents to live his particular version of the American Dream, Kondos attended art school in Sacramento and Los Angeles. After taking several art-related jobs and appointments, he began teaching at his alma mater, Sacramento City College, in 1956, and continued to work there until his retirement in 1982. In his honor, the school renamed their exhibition space the Gregory Kondos Gallery.

Over the course of his life, Kondos has won several awards, including those at Winter Invitationals of the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, a Dillard Collection prize, and an appointment as Full Academician at the National Academy of Design in 1995.

Kondos has an extensive exhibition history, including several one- person shows at galleries in the Sacramento and San Francisco area and group exhibitions, such as his 1993 invitation to show at the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York. Kondos has also served as an artist-in-residence at Yosemite National Park (1990) and has spent many summer months there.Gregory Kondos continues to live in Sacramento with his wife, Moni Van Camp.

Biography from Elliott Fouts Gallery:
Gregory Kondos is a painter known for his depictions of Sacramento and the surrounding country.  In 1994, Mr. Kondos was invited to become a member of The National Academy of Design, and was given an hour-long special program that aired on 250 PBS stations in 1997.

Kondos began painting in the Navy in World War II.  While serving aboard an aircraft carrier, Kondos would paint enemy flags on the sides of fighters that successfully recorded kills.  He also drew cartoons depicting daily life on the ship.  His fellow sailors praised him for these drawings, which caused Gregory to consider art a career.

After the war with GI Bill in hand, Kondos studied art at Sacramento State University where he received his Bachelors Degree and a teaching credential.  He taught art at Elk Grove High School until his friend and painting partner Wayne Thiebaud left his job teaching at Sacramento City College.  Thiebaud suggested to Kondos that he apply for the position, and Kondos not only got the job but eventually became the head of the Art Department from where he retired in 1990.

In his mid eighties, Kondos continues to be a prolific and powerful painter. He also continues mentoring a new generation of painters.


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