Friday, 19 June 2009

Four Greek American artists

Sceptre: William Baziotes

I’ve been taking an interest in the works of four Greek American artists, all heavily influenced by surrealism, abstract expressionism and, of course, their Greek heritage. The four are:

William Baziotes (1912-1963)
Theodore Stamos (1922-1997)
Michael Lekakis (1907-1988)
Thomas Chimes (1921-2009)

Below are some of their works. It’s worth pointing out that Baziotes was probably the most renowned of the four, though Chimes also enjoyed a considerable reputation. Chimes is also noteworthy for his fascination with French writer Albert Jarry – the creator of the absurdist pseudo-philosophy of ‘pataphysics’ – and Franco-Greek playwright Antonin Artaud. Stamos was deeply influenced by Greek mythology and philosophy and after a scandal involving the estate of his close friend Mark Rothko, he spent more and more time in Greece, particularly on the island of Lefkada, his ancestral homeland. Lekakis, predominantly a sculptor, whose father was a flower seller in New York, said that he developed his sense of form through his knowledge of flowers and flower arranging and his sense of form and space through studying and practising Greek dance. Chimes credits Lekakis with being his mentor. The two met at an airforce base in South Carolina in 1941. Chimes had been drafted into the services, while Lekakis was teaching a course in camouflage.

William Baziotes




Theodore Stamos

Aegean Sun Box


Infinity Field

Delphic Shibboleth

Michael Lekakis




Thomas Chimes

Portrait of Alfred Jarry

Portraits of Antonin Artaud



All the Greeks said...

Beautiful works of art, especially those of Baziotes.. I wasn't aware of any of these artists!

John Akritas said...

Hello ATG; I'm glad you found the artists interesting. My pal Stavros over at My Greek Odyssey recently posted a film about notable Greek Americans (`) and even though I'm not a Greek American and the film was fair enough; I thought it was a pity that nearly all the Greek Americans the film concentrated on were billionaire businessmen and politicians; and there was no mention of Greek Americans who'd done interesting things in other fields, such as art, where their Greek heritage could be said to play a prominent part. For me, William Baziotes – who, I agree, is the most interesting of the four artists – is a more attractive figure than John Catsimatidis.

Good luck to the All the Greeks blog and website!