Skip to main content
Home / The Alpha Bank Art Collection / Our works of art / Yiannis Moralis, Untitled

Yiannis Moralis, Untitled

Geometric composition with curved motifs in assorted colours: white, black, ochre, red and blue.
Detail of geometric composition with curved motifs which depicts a commercial port.

The wall composition Untitled by Yiannis Moralis hangs at the Alpha Bank central branch. It is composed of 20 pieces and depicts a commercial port. It is a typical example of the function of applications in Moralis’ art. The painter had a decisive impact on modern-Greek art through his works and teaching.

A representative composition

The wall composition Untitled is a typical example of the consistency and abilities of Yiannis Moralis in applications.

It is a large wall-mounted composition consisting of 20 pieces: 5 pieces in 4 rows. The subject is a view of a commercial port.

Moralis attempted to create the impression of a port. He worked with symbolic shapes, parts of ship bows and sterns, propellers, cranes, ropes and piers.

Motifs, rows and repetition

The basis of the composition is simple. Besides, Moralis himself said about his architectural compositions: “The entire thing is based on 2-3 elements.”

The work develops through repetition and variations of the 2 curved motifs of the ships. Smaller, supplementary motifs appear rhythmically on the surface of the piece, in assorted colour tones.

The repeated motifs, along with the rows and bold diagonal lines, give a unique rhythm to the piece.

The functionality of colour

The painter’s interest in the functionality of the end result, as well as in the piece’s dialogue with its surroundings and with light, is confirmed by:

  • The clear, geometric composition of the shapes, which Moralis has painted in the colour scale used by Polygnotus. Polygnotus was an Ancient Greek painter who only used white, black, ochre and red.
  • The bold blue colour represents the sea.

His life in a nutshell

Yiannis Moralis (1916-2009) was born in Arta. He studied Painting and Engraving at the Athens School of Fine Arts (1936-1936). There, he attended the workshops of Konstantinos Parthenis and Umberto Argyros. In 1933 he attended classes at Jean Kefalinos’ engraving workshop.

He continued his studies at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris (1937-1939). There he studied Painting under Charles Guerin and Murals under Ducos de l’ Haille. At the same time, he attended mosaic classes at the École des Arts et Métiers. He returned to Greece at the start of WWII and joined the army.

In 1947 he was appointed full professor at the preparatory department of the Athens School of Fine Arts. 10 years later he was appointed full professor of Painting, where he remained until 1983.

A prolific artist

Moralis’ work spans 6 decades. During this time, he worked in ceramic art, illustrations and scenography.

He created paintings, scene sets, costumes, prints, book and magazine illustrations, posters, pottery, architectural applications, etc.

In addition, he worked with the National Theatre, the Hellenic Choreodrama and the Karolos Koun Art Theatre.

The Alpha Bank Art Collection also features the artist’s painting Young Woman.

Constant experimentation

The artist found himself in constant experimentation. He completed numerous sketches and studies related to the use of colour. His goal was to arrive at an end result that, on the one hand, was satisfactory to him and, on the other hand, served the purposes of the composition. In other words, he wanted to create a piece that would be in conciliation with the audience.

There was no differentiation between the function of his paintings and his applications. Moralis worked in the same fashion to complete a painting as he did for a large mural. He applied similar experimentations and continuous research to come up with the best aesthetic solutions.

A recognised artist

Moralis is considered one of the most important painters of the post-war generation. He had a significant impact on post-war art in Greece, both with his work and his teaching.

He received numerous accolades, such as the bronze medal in the Panhellenic Art Exhibition of 1940 and the gold medal at the International Craft Fair in Munich (1973). He was also appointed regular member of the International Institute of Letters and Arts (1962), was awarded the Commander of the Order of the Phoenix (1979) and the Excellence Award for Letters and Arts by the Academy of Athens (1979).

He participated in group and international exhibitions, the most important being the Venice Biennale (1958) and the Biennale Internationale de la tapisserie (1965, 1972) in Lausanne.

In 1988 a retrospective exhibition of his works was held at the National Gallery. In 1996 the Academy of Athens organised an exhibition in his honour.

A specifically designed composition

The composition Untitled was designed by Yiannis Moralis specifically for the face of the north wall on the ground floor of the central branch of Piraeus Bank, Commercial Bank Group. The building stood at the intersection of Korai and Stadiou Streets.

The painting was kept at its original spot until June 2016, when it was moved for conservation. In October 2016, the composition was hung at the ground floor of the building at 12-14 Pesmazoglou Street, at the junction with the building at 40 Stadiou Street.

The work of art in our publications

The wall composition Untitled by Yiannis Moralis is referenced in the Alpha Bank publications:

In other literature

The wall composition by Moralis is referenced in his book from 1976 titled Applications (in Greek).

It is also included in the catalogue of the exhibition “Architectural Compositions by Yiannis Moralis. Guided by Sense,” held at Casa Bianca in 2010.

The work of art Untitled by Yiannis Moralis hangs at the Alpha Bank central branch in Athens. More specifically, it is located on the ground floor of the building at 12-14 Pesmazoglou Street, at the junction with the building at 40 Stadiou Street. 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.