Koroyannakis Alexandros (1906 - 1966)

Born in Megara in 1906, he studied painting and engraving at the Athens School of Fine Arts under Iakovidis, Geraniotis, Thomopoulos and Lytras. Graduating in 1929, he worked systematically as an engraver and became one of the first well-known practitioners in Greece, although he continued to paint as well.
Initially he worked as a newspaper cartoonist, first with Patris (1929-1934) and then with Ethnos (1931-1939), and participated in all exhibitions of the Cartoonists’ Union. In 1939 he was hired at the banknote design department of the Bank of Greece, in the context of which he trained in copperplate engraving at the National Bank of Austria, making two journeys to Vienna (1939 and 1949-1950). Until 1966 he collaborated with the Banknote Printing Foundation (ΙΕΤΑ), making designs and plates.
He presented his first solo exhibition of woodcuts, copperplates and lithographs at the Municipal Cultural Centre of Alexandria in 1957, the same year he took part in the Biennale of Alexandria.
He used all printmaking techniques, usually in black-and-white compositions. His subjects focused on work scenes in the city or the countryside (reapers, fishermen, weavers, farmers), but also worked on landscapes, nudes and still lifes. Starting from a realistic rendering, he developed a personal idiom in dialogue with expressionism and cubism. The human figures create an impression of motion that spreads throughout the work and underscores the rhythm of the composition, while the curved shapes balance out the sharpness of the engraving. He was also active as an illustrator of books, poetry collections and albums with woodcuts and drawings, and designed postage stamps, especially in the 1950s.
A founding member of the “Free Artists” group, he took part in all its exhibitions (1935-1938). He was also a member of the Group of Greek Painters-Engravers and the international Woodworkers’ Union, Xylon.
He presented his work in eight solo and many group exhibitions in Greece and abroad. He participated in the Biennales of Venice (1940), Alexandria (1955, 1957), Ljubljana (1956), Sao Paolo (1961) and in many Panhellenic Exhibitions. He won several awards, including the 1st Prize for engraving, Exposition Internationale, Paris 1937; 1st Prize, Biennale of Alexandria, 1955; bronze medal, Paris 1963. In 1987 the National Gallery organised a major retrospective of his oeuvre. His works can be found in the National Gallery, the Municipal Galleries of Athens, Rhodes and Thessaloniki, the Bank of Greece, etc.