Diamantopoulos Diamantis (1914 - 1995)

He was born in 1914 in Magnesia (Asia Minor). He moved to Athens after the Asia Minor Disaster of 1922 and studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts, with D. Biskinis and K. Parthenis (1931-1936). However, he had already begun to publish sketches and exhibit his work (Atelier gallery, 1930, and Art Sancturary, 1931), which were mainly temperas with evident cubist influences. His orientation towards European modern art was combined with a keen interest in traditional and folk art, features which generally characterize the Thirties Generation.
After a period of fairly intense artistic activity during the ‘40s, he withdrew from the art world. He secluded himself at home and was devoted to painting and writing, refusing to exhibit, sell or participate in any way in artistic activities, for 25 years. He only made a short trip to Europe in 1952 and worked as an art teacher in secondary education and in Angeliki Hatzimichali’s Greek House.
His return to visual arts, with an exhibition in Ora gallery in 1975, was considered a major artistic event of the Regime Change era (Metapolitefsi). His paintings and his views on art stirred great interest. His retrospective exhibition at the Athens National Art Gallery (1978) established him as one of the most important painters of his generation. Other solo and group exhibitions followed in Greece and abroad, until 1982, when he represented Greece in the Venice Biennale and participated in the Europalia festival in Belgium (where he was presented among the Masters of Greek art). Since then, he lived in retirement, until his death in 1995.
His painting work, usually anthropocentric, is distinguished for its drawing solidity, the dynamic compositions and the peculiar use of colour. His themes often refer to the world of the working class, in a realistic or symbolic way. His work, and more generally his case, have caused a lot of debate, creating some sort of myth around him, centered at the undeniable quality of his work, his ideological, theoretical and psychological peculiarities, his conflict with Tsarouchis, his tendency for seclusion, etc.
In 2001, six years after his death (Athens, 1995), the Athens Academy honored him by organizing an exhibition at its premises. A monograph on his work was published in 2005.