Vakalo (Vakalopoulos) George (1902 - 1991)

Born in 1902 in Constantinople, he took his first lessons in painting and miniatures by the painter and writer Lyssandros Prassinos. After the end of WWI he went to Paris and studied at the Ecole des Arts Decoratifs and the workshops of the Grande Chaumière and the Académie Julian (1922-1928). He also apprenticed himself to stage designer Ladislas Medgyes and at the avant-garde Theatre de l’Atelier of Charles Dullin, becoming its permanent associate in the 1930s. He worked also with other Parisian troupes such as the Compagnie des Quinze, etc. Returning to Greece in 1940, he continued as stage designer for all state theatres and the most important independent stage directors.
He presented his first solo exhibition of paintings at “Parnassus” in 1946. His painting shows a personal idiom and a purely poetic mood. In his early works he introduces surrealist elements and schematised forms in imaginary settings, creating a dreamy atmosphere. Gradually he adopts a more abstract style with the emphasis on dynamic compositions and bright colours. His move away from representation coincides with a more general trend in Greek art during the 1960s. His frequent references to nature, in particular to the sea, dominate his work and are rendered in an abstract way to form peculiar lyrical landscapes and promote the decorative aspect of his poetic images.
He was a founding member of the “Stathmi” group (1949). In 1957, together with P. Tetsis, F. Frantzeskaki and Eleni Vakalo, he founded the first School of Decorative Arts in Greece, and taught there until 1978. He published texts in newspapers and magazines, and in 1979 Kedros published his book on a Concise history of Stage Design.
He presented his work in solo exhibitions in Greece and abroad, and participated in many group shows, international exhibitions of stage design, Parisian Salons, the Panhellenic Exhibitions of 1952, 1957, 1965, 1969 and 1975, the exhibitions Grekish Konst (Stockholm, 1947) and Modern Greek Artists (London, 1966), the Biennale of Alexandria (1968), etc. In 1938 he received the 1st Award at the Carmine exhibition I Paris, and in 1953 the French government made him a Knight of the Legion of Honour for his services to French theatre. Paintings and stage designs of his can be found in major museums and collections in Greece, Europe and America.