Maltezos Yannis (1915 - 1987)

He was born in 1915 in Smyrna, Asia Minor. He studied at a private studio and the Athens School of Fine Arts. In 1959 he settled in Paris, where he also presented his first solo exhibition (Galerie Mouffe, 1962).
Since the pre-war years, he had already begun to move away from the current trends of representational art and typical ‘hellenic’ art, dominant in Greece at the time. Soon enough, he turned to expressionism and after 1950, his searches led him to explore abstract art. He was one of the first Greek artists who followed abstraction with consistency, and played a pioneering role in the Greek visual arts scene.
Initially he experimented with black and white compositions and later on, he adopts a technique of mixed media and metallic paint, creating relief surfaces that demonstrate the intensity and materiality of gestural interventions. He avoids, however, the disorder of art informel, by selecting a well-organized structure, which often results in geometric formations. Indeed, during the last phases of his work, he employs an entirely geometric painting style with many Op Art characteristics. A constant source of inspiration, common to all the periods of his oeuvre is the transformation of the modern world through the achievements of technology, and in particular through the conquest of space.
He was a member of the artistic groups ‘Akraioi’ (1949) and ‘Art Group A’ (1961).
He presented a limited number of solo exhibitions, mainly in Greece and France, while he also participated in many Panhellenics (1939, 1952, 1957, 1960), and other group exhibitions in Greece and other European countries (France, Sweden, Belgium) and the U.S.A. (New York, Washington DC). In 1959 he participated in the Biennale of Sao Paulo. In 1981 he organized his first retrospective exhibition in Athens (Gallery DADA).
He passed away in 1987 in Paris, but was buried in Athens.