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Dimitris Galanis, Les Marguerites

Vase with daisies on a brown surface and grey background.
Detail of Les Marguerites (The Daisies) by Dimitris Galanis.

The floral print Les Marguerites (The Daisies) by Dimitris Galanis is a rare monoprint, meaning that only 1 impression has been printed. Galanis lived in France and worked with various engraving techniques. This is a particularly challenging technique, as it combines engraving and painting. Many of Galanis’ prints are featured in various publications.

A unique floral print

The piece Les Marguerites (The Daisies) by Dimitris Galanis depicts a vase with daisies on a neutral, grey background.

The decorative elements of the flowers, such as the leaves, stems and blossoms, create a pleasing, smart and light end result.

To achieve this, Galanis approached this floral painting from a unique artistic angle:

  • He isolated the decorative elements.
  • He simplified their shape.
  • He harmonised them, so that the piece would meet the specifications of a print.

The floral theme is showcased through the alternating use of the vivid warm brown and cold grey hues.

The rare technique of the monoprint

This print was created using the monoprint technique. It is a unique and rare technique combining painting and engraving. The final piece is unique, in contrast to engraving where multiple identical prints are produced. Monoprints often feature painting or other interventions by the artist.

His life in a nutshell

Dimitris Galanis (1879-1966) was born in Athens. From 1897 to 1899 he studied at the School of Civil Engineering, National Technical University of Athens. There he also attended drawing classes under the great painter and teacher Nikiforos Lytras.

In 1900 he moved to Paris where he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts on scholarship.

Until 1912 he published satirical drawings in different French magazines (Le Rire, Assiette au Beurre, Frou-Frou).

His interest in engraving had started to unfold as early as 1907-1909. It was then that he originally started working with woodcuts.

Between 1930 and 1937 he taught engraving to Greek artists studying in Paris, such as Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas, at his workshop.

Artistic influences

His stay in Paris had a decisive impact on the artist. There he had the opportunity to follow artistic developments and eclectically adopt some of them, such as Cubism.

He found himself in the same circles as great painters of the time, including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Georges Braque and André Derain.

Favourite themes

Galanis mostly worked with still life. He later turned to landscapes, nudes and mythological themes.

When he focused his professional activities to book and album illustrations, he ventured into many more thematic areas.

Artistic style

Dimitris Galanis is considered one of the first European engravers to create cubist prints. His work stands out for the quality and unique character of his linear representations.

During the 30s, together with other artists, he revisited a more academic, descriptive and detailed artistic style. In this manner, he clearly adapted his personal style to more classical themes.

A recognised artist

Galanis presented his work in solo exhibitions and also participated in group exhibitions in Paris, in major European and US centres, and in Egypt.

His first exhibition in 1928 at Iliou Melathron in Athens essentially introduced the art of engraving to the public. His works became a point of reference at least for the next 20 years.

In 1945 he was appointed professor of Engraving at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and became a member of the Académie Française. In 1949 he became a member of the Academy of Athens.

The founder of engraving

Galanis is considered an important teacher and the undeniable founder of engraving in Greece. He influenced the younger generations of Greek engravers more than anyone. For many decades, in works of different artists, it is possible to detect elements and influences from Galanis’ work.

But his most important gift to engraving was giving it its independence. The decade 1925-1935 was the period when engraving became truly autonomous.

Owing to the great appeal of his work, in 1932 the chair of Engraving was reinstated at the Athens School of Fine Arts, after being eliminated in 1914.

Galanis in the Alpha Bank Art Collection

The Alpha Bank Art Collection features a large number of books illustrated by Dimitris Galanis, including Ophelia, by G.S. Spyridakis. For these books, Galanis created:

  • Cover pages.
  • Small decorative designs, the so-called vignettes.
  • Historiated initials and frontispieces.

The Alpha Bank Library includes The Comedies, Histories and Tragedies of Shakespeare in its collection of rare publications. The book is illustrated by the same artist.

The work of art in our publications

The piece Les Marguerites (The Daisies) by Dimitris Galanis is referenced in the Alpha Bank publications:

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