KOSTAS LOUSTAS (1933-2014)
Self Portrait 1984
Kostas Loustas was born in Athens and brought up in Florina (northwest of Greece), a town with a rich artistic and cultural heritage. He studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts (1953-1958) with Yiannis Moralis being amongst his teachers and mentors. He first received international acclaim in New York City during the early 1960s where he lived and worked for several years.
His solo and group exhibitions of this period include, among others, those at Saldinger (40W 57thstreet), Chase (31E 64th street), Chevance (714 Madison Avenue) and Joseph Paolillo (845 Madison Avenue) galleries in New York City, and Zaydler Gallery (39C Harrington Road, South Kensington) in London. His collaboration with Galerie Internationale (1095 Madison Avenue) in New York, where he first held a solo exhibition in 1972, continued for several years following his permanent return to Thessaloniki, Greece in the early 1980s.
The Engonopoulos and Syllogi Galleries in Athens hosted solo exhibitions of his work in 1980 and 1983 respectively. In 1991, the Municipality of Thessaloniki honoured his thirty-year artistic presence in the city with a major retrospective show at the Vafopoulio Cultural Centre. In 1993, with his series of ‘80+1 Portraits of Thessaloniki Personalities’, exhibited by the Municipal Gallery in Thessaloniki, he was honoured by the mayor and the state for his contribution to the Greek Arts and Letters.
In 1999, the London art gallery of Paul Hawkins in Mayfair hosted a solo exhibition of his work. Further solo exhibitions organized by the Municipal Art Gallery of Thessaloniki include the series of still-lives entitled ‘Elgar 96’, inspired by his love for classical music and the violin in particular, a series of nude paintings entitled ‘Variations 2000’, and ‘Amelia 2004’, the last of which is a tribute to his three-year old grand-daughter Amelia.
He collaborated with the art galleries of Mihalarias, Kapopoulos Fine Arts, Aenaon, Ersis and Periplanisi in Athens. Two solo exhibitions were held at Atrion Gallery in Thessaloniki in 2010 and 2012. A significant part of the artist’s private collection of paintings was exhibited at the Vafopoulio Cultural Center in November 2012. The Corfu Art Gallery and the Benaki Museum (N. Hadjikyriakos-Ghika Gallery) in Athens held retrospective exhibitions of his works in 2016.
In 2018, the solo exhibition Kostas Loustas New York at the MOMus Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki was devoted to the artist’s life and work in New York City during the 1960s and 1970s. In 2019, the Teloglion Arts Foundation exhibited unknown paintings and drawings from the Foundation’s permanent collection as well as from the artist’s family collection. On the 5th anniversary of his death, Nitra Gallery in Thessaloniki with the exhibition entitled ‘Cielo e mar’ showcased exclusively seascapes spanning a period of more than four decades.
He published poetry and many articles in national newspapers as both author and critic. In 1977 he received an award from the Society of Greek Writers in Athens. He was a member of the Chamber of Fine Arts of Greece, and up to 2008, he had been on the board of directors of the Greek State Museum of Contemporary Art. His autobiographical book entitled More than one hundred rings for princes was published by Ianos Publishers in 2006.