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 John Vasilios Moraitis  (1930 - 1994)

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Lived/Active: New York/New Jersey      Known for: abstract expressionism, collage, teaching

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John Moraitis
An example of work by John Vasilios Moraitis
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
John  V. Moraitis Biography

John Vasilios Moraitis taught art in the Hicksville NY school system and several schools in Suffolk County, Long Island NY. He was a prolific painter and from 1950 to the time of his death he exhibited his art throughout the state of NY and surrounding states.

He was born in Pittsburgh PA in 1930 and lived most of his life in Port Jefferson, Long Island. He died suddenly from a heart attack in 1994 during a visit to Atlantic City, NJ. He is buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery in Port Jefferson. Etched on his tombstone is an artist’s palette with brushes along with his name “John V. Moraitis” and dates of birth and death “1930-1994”. He was married and had two daughters.

The artist’s father Vasilios had immigrated from the Greek island of Ikaria. The artist was a world traveler and he had visited Greece, Tibet, the Middle East and many other places. In many of his paintings he had incorporated ancient symbols and mythological images from his father’s birthplace and from the other places he had visited. Pyramids, circles, triangles, rectangles, orbs, classical figures, birds and other animals are frequently depicted in his paintings.

Moraitis started painting shortly after Abstract Expressionism was becoming an artistic force in the USA. This art movement started in the 1940s and lasted for some four decades. Jackson Pollock and Willem De Kooning were  two of the more familiar names of Abstract  Expressionism. This genre of art is also known as the “New York School of artists”. Moraitis was one of the artists that produced a number of large abstract expressionistic canvasses. From the 1970’s on he produced more realistic representational paintings.

He participated in many art exhibitions. He exhibited in 1954 at the Ohio State  Fair; Zimmerman Gallery, Columbus Ohio (1954); Columbus Fine Arts Museum (1955), Walter Reed army Hospital (1956), ART U.S.A. N.Y. (1958), Sisti Gallery, Buffalo, NY (1959); Stonybrook Museum, L.I. (1964); Parish Museum, L.I. (1965); Cord Gallery, L.I. (1965); L.I. Arts Festival (1966) where he was awarded First Prize; and Oliva Art Studio. His works are  in the collection of Walter Reed Army Hospital, the actress Melina Mercouri (To Hellas), former  prime  minister of Greece Andreas  Papandreou (The Prisoner), Robert Kennedy estate( 21 foot Sail On mural) and others.

On October 11, 1994 the Long Island newspaper Newsday carried an article on an exhibit of Moraitis' paintings and collages at the Oliva Art Studio. The article was illustrated with an image of one of his paintings titled "Coming Home".

Submitted by Bob Constant from information obtained from the artist’s cousin George , an exhibition catalog and newspaper articles.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
John V. Moraitis was actively having shows throughout the 1950's-70's and continued his Greek American heritage artwork until his death in 1994.  He was awarded First Prize by the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) at the 1966 Long Island Arts Festival. 

Among his many shows his work has appeared in some of the following: 1954 Ohio State Fair; Zimmerman Gallery in Columbus 1955; Columbus Fine Arts Museum 1956; Walter Reed Army Hospital 1959; Sisti Gallery In Buffalo, NY 1964; Stonybrook Museum in Long Island 1965; Parrish Museum in Long Island. 

His collections and works have been owned by as well as commissioned by some of the following:
Robert Kennedy estate; Andreas Papandreou, former Prime Minister of Greece; Margaret Papandreou; and Christopher's in Pittsburgh, PA.

This additional information/correction was supplied in May of 2006 by Robert Constant:

Moraitis was active in New York, not New Jersey. He taught art in the Hicksville, New York school system, and lived in Port Jefferson, Long Island, New York. He died on a visit to Atlantic City, New Jersey, and  is buried in Port Jefferson Cedar Hill Cemetery. His gravestone shows 1930 as the year of his birth, and 1994 as the year of his death.

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