Sequences might also be a good way to describe the career of Klearchos Loukopoulos who has two works in Athens First Cemetery. He was as multi-faceted an artist as Leonardo, almost as if his mind was too fertile to settle down and plough one particular artistic field. First came drawing lessons, then Law School concurrently with drama study at the National Theatre of Greece and music at the National Conservatory of Athens, all before he finally settled on life as a visual artist. He studied painting and drawing before finally setting up his first sculpting studio in 1939! During this long process of becoming, he got to know some of the great Greek painters like Yiannis Morales, Yiannis Tsarouchis, and Nikos Hatzikyriakos-Gkikas, along with architects the likes of Demitris Pikionis. It was a wonderful era to be a Greek artist.
Hard at work in 1973
We first came across his work in the First Cemetery.
Plaza, Number 83
In bronze, rather than the more usual marble, it depicts actress MarikaKotopouli as Iphigenia and was commissioned by her husband Georgios Helmi in 1960. I did not particularly like it, truth to tell. I don’t know if the fact that it was apparently originally gilded would have helped. (1)
Of course I looked him up and I was surprised to discover that he was not only one of the pioneers of abstract sculpture in Greece, but that his artistic oeuvre is just breathtaking – not bad for a child who was born in one of the more remote villages of Aetolia in western Greece.
The plain of Thermon, as painted by Maleas in 1921
In 1963 he was chosen for the International Art Critics Award Greek Division, 1966 saw him again at the Venice Biennale, and 1971 saw him awarded a Ford Foundation Scholarship.
In 1972 the Greek Military Junta wanted to award him the National Excellence Art Award but he declined because of the dictatorship.
Over the years he showed his work in Greece, France, The United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Cyprus, and wrote many articles about art.
In 1976 he joined the Group for Communication and education in Art and was its president for four years.
He remained active and inventive into his 80s, experimenting with materials such as polystyrene, zinc and wax – a renaissance man to the end!
: Ethniki Aminas.
(1) I was not the only person underwhelmed by Marika’s statue. Set designer Georgios Anemoyianni who had belonged to Marika’s troupe wrote that he felt depressed whenever he visited her grave because he felt it had been violated. He was unhappy with the use of metal apparently.
Άλσος Ελληνικού Στρατού, Γουδί