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Panayiotis Tetsis, Street Market

People in colourful clothes shopping at the street market on a sunny morning.
Detail of the painting with people shopping at the street market.

The painting Street Market by Panayiotis Tetsis is one of 13 paintings of the same-name commemorative sequence created by the artist. It depicts an everyday Athenian scene. It is a large painting that is part of the Alpha Bank Art Collection. Colour and light dominate this important piece of modern-Greek painting.

A familiar city scene

The composition captures a moment in time, with people passing in front of the street market stalls or shopping.

It depicts housewives with their shopping trolleys, older people and young people, in front of the grocery stalls. The entire scene is bathed in Greek light.

Representation in natural size

The painting Street Market is 2.5 m high and 4.5 m wide. The figures are represented in life-like size.

It is one of 13 large-size paintings by Panayiotis Tetsis under the general title “Street Market”. This monumental series of pieces was painted in the years between 1979-1982. In all, it is approximately 58 metres long.

A dance of colour and light

Based on his personal quests and aesthetics, Tetsis was able to capture the diversity of this scene: the colourful images and the movement that was spontaneously offered by the outdoor market in his neighbourhood.

The main elements of the composition are:

  • Vivid colours.
  • Freedom in rendering the figures.
  • Diffused light.

The painting highlights the liveliness of the city and Tetsis’ affinity for themes from daily life. It shows his undeniable preference for clean, bold colours and the way they interact with light.

Inspired by the neighbourhood

The painter’s studio was on Xenokratous Street, at the centre of Athens. There is a street market there every Friday.

The crowds, the ever-changing vivid colours, the sounds and the bustling activity of the street market immediately captured Tetsis’ attention. The artist wanted to use this common and familiar city scene. So, he began his studies, experimentations and sketches on the subject.

His life in a nutshell

Panayiotis Tetsis (1925-2016) was born on the island of Hydra. In 1937 he moved with his family to Piraeus. He attended the Athens Law School without completing his studies.

Between 1944 and 1949 he studied Painting at the Athens School of Fine Arts under Dimitrios Biskinis, Pavlos Mathiopoulos and Konstantinos Parthenis.

From 1953 to 1956 he studied at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris, on a scholarship from the State Scholarships Foundation. When he returned to Greece, he settled in Athens and spent his free time between the islands of Sifnos and Hydra.

From 1959 to 1962 he taught at the Design Department of the Athens Technology Group. He was a co-founder and instructor at the Vakalo Art and Design College, along with Eleni Vakalo, Assadour Baharian and Frantzis Frantzeskakis.

Artistic influences

In 1940, long before attending the Athens School of Fine Arts, he had met Dimitris Pikionis and Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas. Tetsis considered them both his true teachers. He believed that his work was greatly influenced by Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas.

Favourite themes and artistic style

Tetsis’ paintings consist of portraits, scenes from daily life, landscapes and still life.

His work encompasses elements of Modernism, Expressionism and abstraction, while still remaining representational. In his paintings, the artist paid particular attention to the relationship between colour and light.

Besides painting, Tetsis also worked with engraving. He also painted murals in churches and public buildings.

A recognised artist

Testis held his first solo exhibition at Romvos Gallery in 1948. He continued to hold many more solo exhibitions and participate in a number of group exhibitions.

In 1958 his works travelled to the Guggenheim Museum and Tetsis was nominated for the Guggenheim International Award.

He participated in the São Paulo Biennale in 1957 and the Alexandria Biennale in 1959. In 1970 Tetsis was chosen to represent Greece at the Venice Biennale. However, he withdrew his candidacy for political reasons.

An important teacher

In 1976 Tetsis was appointed professor at the Athens School of Fine Arts, where he taught until 1991. His students included George Rorris, Yannis Vakirtzis, Miltos Golemas, Panagiotis Tountas, etc. In 1989 he was appointed Dean.

In 1993 he became a regular member of the Academy of Athens and in 1999 he was awarded the Grand Commander of the Order of Phoenix.

Tetsis in the Alpha Bank Art Collection

The Alpha Bank Art Collection also features 2 prints of the artist under the street market theme.

Tetsis did not restrict himself to painting, but instead produced many prints, mostly aquatints, with the same subject. Many of these aquatints are in colour.

The work of art in our publications

The Street Market by Panayiotis Tetsis is featured in the publication The Alpha Bank Collection. Paintings – Prints – Sculptures (2005), edited by Irene Orati. The publication features the most important works of the Art Collection from 1880 to date.

Buy the publication The Alpha Bank Collection. Paintings – Prints – Sculpture (only available in Greek) on the Alpha Bank e-shop. 

In other literature

The Street Market by Panayiotis Tetsis is also referenced:

  • In the book Contemporary Greek Painters. Panayiotis Tetsis, (in Greek) by Ellinika Grammata publications (2007).
  • The work P. Tetsis, Painting, by E. Vakalo and A. Kotidis, (in Greek), published in 1999 by the Nees Morfes Art Gallery.

The painting, which is part of the series Street Market hangs at the Alpha Bank central branch, where the Stadiou Street building meets the Pesmazoglou Street building. It can be accessed during the branch days and hours of operation.

Research visits can be organised upon request. Contact us to book your visit.