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 Constantine Maleas  (1879 - 1928)

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Lived/Active: Greece      Known for: painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Maleas was born and grew up in Constantinople, far away from the Greek artistic center in Athens.  The young painter therefore avoided  the influence of the Munich School that dominated Athenian Art.  He studied at the Phanar Greek Orthodox College and then left for Paris in 1901 at an age of 23 years old to study initially architecture. In Paris he eventually decided to study painting until 1908 near Henri Martin.

In 1913 he returned to Greece, initially in Thessaloniki and then based in Athens.  In 1917 he became a member of an avant-guard art group that imported the international contemporary art movements to Greece.  He traveled extensively in Greece, Western Europe, Palestine and Egypt where he drew some of the subjects for his famous landscapes.  Apart from painting, he was also involved in the public discussion on the modernization of the Greek language.  He was a friend of Glenos, Delmouzos and Triantafylidis.  He has illustrated the first alphabet book in the new modern Greek language Demotiki.  He has written articles to the newspapers Nouma, Elefthero Vima and in many art journals.  Maleas has been recognized for his artistic contribution from the Greek Government which awarded him with the Highest Acknowledgment of Letters and Arts.

Maleas' work has been influenced by the work of Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh and by the art movements of symbolism, impressionism and fauvism.  His paintings are characterized by very light and bright colors, and the use of large brushes which revolutionized the stagnant Athenian art of the time.  Most art critics have condemned his work and it was only Fotos Politis who recognized the value of Maleas' work and urged young artists to learn from Maleas' paintings.  Maleas is still one of the most popular Greek modern artists and his works are exhibited at the National Gallery of Athens and elsewhere.

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