Velissaridis Giorgos (1909 - 1994)

Born in Trapezous, Asia Minor, in 1909, he came to Greece in 1922. He studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts (1930-1935) under Constantinos Parthenis in painting and Yannis Kefallinos in printmaking, and broadened his education with various trips abroad where he became acquainted with the new trends in painting and printmaking.
He worked in the banknote design department of the Bank of Greece (1939-1941), and later worked for Hellenic Post, designing many postage stamps (1968-1973). He also illustrated books and other printed matter. He presented his first solo exhibition at the Ersi Gallery (1989), with black-and-white oils and coloured prints.
His painting (oils, temperas, aquarelles) is as noteworthy as his printmaking, although he was best known as an engraver, mainly through his woodcuts. His subjects are landscapes, still lifes and genre scenes. In painting he approached the Greek landscape in a poetic mood and with the emphasis on colour, while in his prints he stresses the elements that structure the form and the atmospheric play between light and shade.
Much of his work is dominated by the classic methods of representation, although there are evident influences by impressionism, cubism and abstraction. Indeed, as his art evolves the formalisations become bolder and the compositions acquire an abstract simplicity.
He belonged in the first generation of accomplished engravers who established the autonomy of printmaking in Greece. He was a member of important art groups (Free Artists, Group of Greek Painters & Printmakers, Ergastiri, Xylon, etc.) and a founding member of the Art Chamber of Greece (ΕΕΤΕ), serving also as its president.
He presented his work in solo and group exhibitions — indicatively: Exposition Internationale, Paris (1937); La Grèce Vivante, Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, Geneva (1954); Biennale of Alexandria (1963), and in many Panhellenic Exhibitions. Two retrospectives of his oeuvre were presented at the National Gallery in 1990 and at the Yakinthos Centre for Visual Arts in 1995. His works can be found in the National Gallery, the Municipal Galleries of Athens, Ioannina, Piraeus and Rhodes, the collections of the Bank of Greece and the National Bank of Greece, the Benaki Museum, etc.