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Alekos Fassianos: the Picasso of Greece

January 16, 2022 was a dark day of mourning for the Greek art world as it said the last goodbye to one of the most famous Greek artists, Alekos Fasianos. Fassianos died, at the age of 86, at his home after a long fight with his illness. Described by many to be the Picasso of Greece, Fassianos was widely lauded; many of his works decorate public spaces, including a mural at a subway station in Athens.

A. Fassianos. (1989). Athenian Panorama. Oil on Canvas.

Alekos Fassianos was born in Athens, on October 25 1935, next to the Church of the Holy Apostles. His grandfather, the parish priest, lived there with his entire family. His father was a composer and music teacher, while his mother was a teacher of ancient Greek. His grandfather’s influence was powerful in his upbringing, and Fassianos did not hesitate to mention it at every possible opportunity.

By the age of 17, he was painting on his own in search of answers to his unresolved pictorial questions. He witnessed the German occupation in all its horror. His uncle was executed by the Germans for writing statements of resistance on the walls of Athens. So, in 1945, at the onset of the Greek Civil War, he began to paint. He was born an artist. He studied violin at the Athens Conservatory for twelve years and painting, at the Athens School of Fine Arts, from 1955 to 1960. There he met musicians, such as Yiannis Markopoulos, Mikis Theodorakis, and Dora Bakopoulos, who would play an important role in his life.

While still a student, he had his first exhibition at the Galerie 3+2 in Paris with Stamatis Stamatopoulos and Pantelis Xagoraris. Shortly after his first exhibition, he gained a scholarship from the French Government and moved from Athens to Paris to study lithography in professor Clairin’s studio. He remained in Paris for the next 35 years. During his stay, he became the close friend of fellow painter, Vassilis Sperantzas. He also got acquainted with poets and writers, such as Jacques Lacarrière, Yves Navarre, and painter René Laubiès, who would actively support his work during his stay in France. However, during his stay in France, he held a very close and regular connection with his homeland.

A. Fassianos. (2003). Sun Disk. Oil on Canvas.

The features of his art were slowly formed during his stay in Paris. There he had the chance to get familiarized with the modern trends of the 1960s. Yet, unlike other Greek artists of his generation, he remained faithful to documentary painting and its Gr