Bekiari Koula (1905 - 1992)

Born in Athens in 1905, she first came into contact with art through her mother, Anna Bekiari (1870-1960)—a painter, sculptor and literary writer. Her family background meant that she met major figures of the arts and letters, broadening her cultivation. She attended free courses in literature, art history and music and took lessons in painting by Theofrastos Triantafyllidis, Nikolaos Lytras and Constantinos Parthenis and printmaking by Yorgos Velissaridis and Yorgos Moschos. She continued with art studies in France, Italy and the Netherlands.
Her painting is representational for the most part, with a wealth of subjects (portraits, landscapes, still lifes, interiors) and a strongly lyrical mood. Over time her works distance themselves from the influence of her teachers and acquire a clear expressionist slant, perhaps under the influence of her studies abroad; after the loss of her mother and brother she turns to religious subjects which she renders in an abstract manner using strong and harsh colours. Similar thematic and aesthetic choices are to be found in her printmaking work, which includes a significant number of woodcuts, monotypes and copperplates.
She was a member of the first group of Greek Painters Printmakers (1938-1944).
She presented her work in three solo exhibitions in Athens, and took part in many group shows in Greece and abroad—among other in all Panhellenic Exhibitions from 1938 to 1973, in international biennales (Venice 1934, Sao Paulo 1961, Alexandria 1963) and in many Parisian Salons. She received Greek and foreign awards and distinctions: Commendation at the 1948 Panhellenic Exhibition, silver medal at the Salon International de l’Art Libre (PAris 1964), silver medal at the Mostra Annuale Italiana d’Arte Grafica (Ancona 1966), Prix de Chypre (monetary prize) at the Salon International de l’Art Libre (Paris 1966). She was also awarded twice by the City of Athens, in 1973 and 1984.
There were posthumous retrospectives of her work at the Municipal Arts Centre of Athens in 2007 and in 2008 at the Telloglion Art Foundation of the University of Thessaloniki, to which she had donated a sizeable number of works. Most of her works, and many of her mother’s, have been donated to the National Gallery. She provided also significant financial support toward the establishment of the first Glyptotheque in Athens (1986-1990), and part of her estate was bequeathed to the Academy of Athens in support of financially constrained students through grants. She died in Athens on the 25th of July 1992.