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 Antonis L. Karafyllakis  (1908 - 1983)

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Lived/Active: Florida      Known for: portrait, religion, landscape, figure

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Ad Code: 4
Antonis L Karafyllakis
Farmhouse, 35 1/2 x 23 1/2 inches
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Antonios Leonidas Karafyllakis,  Born: April 18, 1908, in Kalymnos, Dodecanese Islands, Greece,  Died: July 7, 1983 in Arlington County, Virginia. Married Niki M. Kapellas 1941. Three children: Leonidas, born 1945, Michael, born 1948 and Steve, born 1950.

His career as an artist began very early.  By the time he was out of school, he had received a second prize for portraits (1930), the first "Averofion Prize for Nude Painting" (1931), and the first "Philadelphian Prize for Composition" (1932).  He studied painting and sculpture at the "Superior School of Fine Arts", Athens Greece, graduating in 1934 with honors and the "Averofion Award for Portraiture".

He returned to Kalymnos to work as an artist, accepting primarily portraits and Orthodox Church iconography.  He spent a great deal of time on Rhodes executing the iconography for many of the churches and monasteries of that island, and eventually was offered the post of Dean of the Arts Department of the university preparatory school on Rhodes, where he moved with his family after WWII.  He taught as a high school professor of Art, and became Director of the school of Fine Arts in Rhodes and President of one of the four Schools of Fine Arts in Greece.

Mr. Karafyllakis immigrated to Australia in late 1949, hoping to establish a more international reputation, and secure a higher standard of living for his family.  While in Australia, he once again did many portrait commissions, but also found a better market for a wider range of work, including landscapes, still life and nudes.  He also entered many competitions, invariably winning first or second place. 

Mr Karafyllakis was a member of the Royal Art Society of Australia. In 1956 out of 500 artists, he won the "Hotchin" Prize.  The prizewinner, a 6 X4 foot landscape called Perth View, now hangs in the Calgoolie Public Museum.

In 1956 he returned to Greece, and then immigrated once again to Nassau, Bahamas in 1959, and from there to Washington, DC in 1962.  Mr. Karafyllakis first came to the United States in 1960 after being called to do the interior decorating of several Greek Orthodox Churches.  One of his works is a (9 X 12) foot canvas depicting the baptism of Christ, which now hangs in St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at Tarpon Springs.

In 1962, the trustees of the Rockledge Institute of South Norwalk, Connecticut, approved an award to Mr. Karafyllakis of $1,200.00 for "outstanding achievement in the field of landscape art."  This was his first entry in the U.S., and since then, he has exhibited in the U.S. many times and won many prizes.  Among the prizes he won are the first and second prizes for portraits and still life at the exhibition and completion in Chevy Chase.

In 1964 Mr. Karafyllakis, opened the "El Greco Art Gallery" at 1717Connecticut Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009.  He worked and instructed there until 1981, at which time he retired to his home studio in Arlington, Virginia.

At the 1965 Art Festival in Washington, D.C., he was awarded a trophy, by popular vote of the D.C. Recreation Department of the Washington Post, for the best painting.  The following year at the same exhibition he received a trophy for the most popular exhibit, first prize in sculpture for his John F. Kennedy bust, 1968 American Art League Competition First Prize, and 1970 American Art League Competition First Prize for Portraits.

In 1972, Mr. Karafyllakis was commissioned by the Kennedy-King University of Chicago to create the busts of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy at twice the natural size.  These are on permanent exhibit at the Kennedy-King School of Business, Chicago.  He also won first prize for a landscape from the Washington Landscape Arts Club and received an Honorary Diploma for his activities in art from the Greek Government.

In 1973, Mr. Karafyllakis's painting, 300 Spartans, was accepted in the National Gallery of Athens, Greece, and will remain there permanently.  During the year he also received the Certificate of Merit from the International Who's Who in Art and Antiques.

He is listed in the International Directory of Arts Who's Who, Premio Centauro D'Oro, 1982 and Notable Americans of 1976-77 by the Historical Preservations of America.

He traveled extensively, making himself well known in many countries such as Australia, the Middle East, Italy (where he also studied for a short period), and the Bahamas., Artist, Royal Art Academy, Athens (Medalist), M.R.A.S. Australia

Submitted October 2003 by Ben E. Kozlovsky Sr. of Austin, Texas and collector of the artist's work. He credits a gallery brochure created by the "EL GRECO ART GALLERY" Washington , D.C. The latest date in the pamplet is 1973.

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