Timeline

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1899

Nikolaos Ventouras was born on August 31st 1899

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1916-1917

He loves to travel a lot and he also likes cameras and bicycles; so he decides to take a road trip from Printezi, Italy to Vienna, Austria along his brother (for the first leg) and a group of cyclist friends. As an excellent photographer, he never misses an opportunity to capture moments of his journey with a Rolleiflex.

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1923

He loves to travel a lot and he also likes cameras and bicycles; so he decides to take a road trip from Printezi, Italy to Vienna, Austria along his brother (for the first leg) and a group of cyclist friends. As an excellent photographer, he never misses an opportunity to capture moments of his journey with a Rolleiflex.

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1928

He admires Markos Zavitsianos’ illustrations for Konstantinos Theotoki’s book I timi ke to Chrima (values and money), which was published in 1914. A few years later he illustrates —using India ink— the sophisticated book of K. Theotokis I zoi kai o thanatos tou Karavela (the life and death of Karavelas); he uses the nickname N.G.Viros.

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1931

He is taking watercolour lessons with Aggelos Giallinas

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1932

He feels a calling to engraving. He states that he is self-taught, with the exception of lithography in which he is formally tutored, while his studies in chemistry have helped him to experiment with materials and the different times and effects of corrosion, as well as to achieve precise impressions of the image he has decided to inscribe and print. This is also the year in which Yannis Kefallinos is appointed as head of the Printmaking Division of the ASFA (Athens School of Fine Arts) and engraving exhibitions have started taking place in Athens.

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1935-1938

His starting point is representativeness. As he seems to take a closer look to the nature and the landscapes, he produces two major sets of works, Karavia (Ships) and Corfu. His work is detailed and studied; the authenticity, the emotional impression of the paintings and the impressionistic agreement of the lighting are some of the characteristics of this period’s work.

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1939

Given the Greek context, he proposes the first abstract arrangements very soon. He starts working his first abstract formulations, exploring art towards the style of Kandinsky. The presence of information of a clearly narrative nature in his works evolves. He manages to present incidents where lines and shapes assume the leading role. A fundamental role is assigned to tonalities ranging from grey to black with solid, unambiguously clear outlines as well as to the balancing of volumes.

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1940-1944

Corfu is brutally bombarded during World War II. The most important moment is the serious bombing on September 14, 1943 at the Day of Exaltation of the Cross according to the Eastern Orthodox Church.

1944-1950

Ventouras’ work reveals the horror, the threat, the fear and the panic, through the use of elements of cubist and surrealist style.

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1946

Galanis, another great engraver, certifies in a hand-written note that he has seen Ventouras’ engravings and, considering how interesting they are, he thinks that it will be of benefit if this young man comes to Paris to attend his courses in the École nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts. For better or worse, Ventouras never moves to the French capital.

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1947

His daughter Fanny is born on August 21, 1947.

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1948-1949

He starts to exhibit his work; he participates in the Panhellenic Artistic Exhibition from 1948 to 1969, without missing a single year. He meets poet Jason Depountis and they develop a deep friendship as well as a mutual respect and admiration over the years to come.

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1950-1960

Ventouras pays a visit to Piraeus and he enriches his experience. Ever since, his relation with the world of ships is getting closer. He forms a visually powerful new way of dealing with his work without departing from his previous expression. At that period he uses color, which he places on surfaces, unconstrained by the lines that define the theme. Lines and color interact in a way that the divide between painting and engraving is blurred and both are presented through a fluid abstraction. In black-and-white copper engravings of this period, we are introduced to another form of expression from this ingenious engraver. Intense diagonals, powerful lines, closed outlines, intense shaping, a different visual way to reflect life at the port.

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1963-1969

In the 1960s, Ventouras engraves and etches his famous Constellations. These are copper engravings that are characterized by fervent movement and rhythm, angular endings of lines, intense shaping, compelling oppositions between chromatic constellations as a starting point (something familiar) with an aim to speak for the unknown, the invisible, and to express his need for introspection, his need to focus in the substance of life, a substance different for each person.

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1970

His next work is the Litanies. A well thought out and prepared – through the work of previous years – explosion of color, fluid the light, color and sentiment of Corfu, pure expressionism. Ventouras captures the collective experience of the soul, as well as the expression of universal and diachronic thoughts about divinity, miracles, faith and hope.

April 1st, 1990

Nikolaos Ventouras dies in Corfu, Greece.

Ventouras has managed to be in harmony with all major art movements of his time and he has left behind an enormous work which suggests the feeling of an internal unity and completion. His work has been presented in numerous individual, collective and international exhibitions such as Sao Paolo Biennale (1955, 1957), Venice Biennale (1964), etc. His first individual exhibition has been presented in 1963, at the Athens Technological Institute.