Goulandris collection of Modern masterworks finally revealed in new Athens museum

Dream museum of collectors basil and elise goulandris brought to life almost three decades after original proposal.

The long-awaited Athens museum includes Van Gogh's Nature morte à la cafetière (1888) Courtesy of the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation

The long-awaited Athens museum includes Van Gogh's Nature morte à la cafetière (1888) Courtesy of the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation

Outstanding Impressionist and Modern works went on public display in Athens last month with the opening of the new Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation Museum. It has taken 27 years since Basil (1913-94) and his wife Elise’s (1917-2000) proposal for a museum filled with their collection was first made, delayed by bureaucratic obstacles and a legal claim to the collection brought by Basil’s niece, Aspasia Zaimis, which was defeated in 2018.

A powerful native cultural heritage tends to crowd out an international approach in a country’s museums, and until now there was nowhere in Greece where the public could see works by 19th- and 20th-century European masters. The new museum has remedied this with works that even a rich US museum would struggle to put together today, by Monet, Degas, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Cézanne, Braque, Picasso, Miró, Kandinsky, Klee, Pollock, Giacometti and Bacon, among others.

These are not minor examples of their work. A large Picasso of a woman with raised arms relates to the Demoiselles d’Avignon, painted in 1907. There is a rose-tinted façade of Rouen cathedral by Monet as well as Van Gogh’s flaming avenue of poplars and disciplined still-life dominated by a black coffee pot, both from 1888.

Some of the most famous galleries of the second half of the 20th century helped shape the Goulandris collection: Wildenstein in its heyday, Acquavella, Daniel Varenne in Geneva and Ernst Beyeler, who became a close friend of the couple and encouraged the idea of creating a museum. The auction houses played their part, especially Sotheby’s, with Simon de Pury advising Elise.

Basil Goulandris made his fortune from the Orion Shipping and Trading Company after the Second World War. He entered the big collecting league in 1957, when he bid a then record $297,000 for a still-life by Gauguin. The Goulandrises built their collection together and, unlike today’s buyers, did not keep it in a freeport but lived with it, moving works from their chalet in Gstaad to their apartment in Avenue Foch in Paris, and even to their yacht, the Paloma.

In 1979, the couple established their foundation and inaugurated Greece’s first contemporary art museum on the island of Andros, Basil’s birthplace, which held a collection of Greek art and hosted exhibitions every summer from 1986 of artists including Balthus, Dalí, Man Ray, Richter and Kiefer.

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Collectors Basil and Elise Goulandris opened Greece’s first contemporary art space in 1979 Courtesy of the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation

The architect I.M. Pei was a friend, and in 1993 the couple commissioned him to design a museum in Athens. He came up with a pale limestone design with the feel of a church, inspired by Christian rather than classical Greece: a soaring hexagonal hall, windows fitted with translucent alabaster panes to filter the light and an enclosed garden with a fountain surrounded by orange trees. But the classical past interfered; the chosen site was abandoned in 1997 after the ruins of the Lyceum, where Aristotle taught his students, were discovered there.

Another location fell through largely due to the hostility of the local residents, who did not want crowds in their neighbourhood. Finally, the foundation led by Kyriakos Koutsomallis decided to adapt an existing building in Pangrati, a central neighbourhood with views of the Parthenon. It is on 11 floors, complete with lecture theatre, library, education department, restaurant and temporary exhibition space (opening in 2020). The works collected by the Goulandrises are on the lower floors, while the Modern and contemporary Greek art acquired by the foundation in recent years are above. All the running costs are covered by the foundation.

• See our 1994 interview with I.M. Pei on his never-realised vision for the Goulandris museum in Athens

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A New Modern Art Museum for Athens

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From Van Gogh to Pollock and everyone in between, the world’s most famous painters have found a permanent home at the new museum of the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation.

By Kiriakos Spirou

Athens has just welcomed its latest modern art museum, built specially to house the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation’s world-class collection of Impressionist, Modernist and post-war art. The long-awaited museum opened its doors on 2 October 2019 on Eratosthenous Street in Pangrati . It shares a small plaza with the adjacent church of Saint Spyridon and is only a stone’s throw from Panathenaic Stadium and Pangrati's hippest area, Plateia Proskopon.

One of the world’s great art collections

Officially called the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation , the new museum has been in the making for over 30 years. Its art collection (estimated to be worth $3 billion) is one of the world’s most valuable private collections amassed during the second half of the 20th century. Today, Basil and Elise’s trove of painting, sculpture, drawings, objects and furniture has finally found a permanent home, where visitors can admire rare treasures by seminal artists like Cézanne, Van Gogh, Chagall, Monet, Miró, Picasso, Pollock and many others.

The creation of a museum was a lifelong mission for Basil and Elise Goulandris—a shipowner couple who spent their time jet-setting between Switzerland, New York and the Mediterranean. Basil Goulandris was a member of a famous dynasty of shipowners from the Greek island of Andros, which includes many patrons of the arts. This explains why there are so many Goulandris museums in Athens: the Museum of Cycladic Art was founded by Nicholas (Basil’s twin brother) and Dolly Goulandris, while the Goulandris Museum of Natural History owes its name to founders Angelos and Niki Goulandris.

1st floor: Classics of Modern Art.

Courtesy: Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation. Photo by Christophoros Doulgeris.

Basil and Elise Goulandris first set out to create a museum in the 1980s. Their original plan was to turn a neoclassical townhouse in Kolonaki into a set of galleries to showcase their collection. That proposal quickly proved too modest. Instead, the couple commissioned the famed architect I.M. Pei to design a new museum next to the Athens Conservatory . Pei’s iconic design would have added a rare architectural gem to the Athenian skyline—were it not for the discovery of Aristotle’s Lyceum at the site.

By this time, Basil had passed away, but Elise persevered with the vision of their museum, supported by art historian, Kyriakos Koutsomallis, the director of the B&E Goulandris Foundation. A new site was identified in Pangrati, where the Foundation acquired a neoclassical mansion and the buildings next to it. However, Elise’s death in 2000 and the subsequent legal feud over the ownership of part of the Goulandris’ collection caused further delays.

A new home for modern masters

Now open at last, the 11-storey museum includes a gift shop, a charming café, a library (containing Basil and Elise’s personal collection of around 4500 art books) and five floors of galleries. The first two floors are dedicated to 19th and 20th-century Western art, the next two are for Greek art from the past one hundred years. From 2020, the lower ground floor gallery will host temporary exhibitions.

The hanging for the museum’s opening includes 180 works, which are among the most valuable in the collection. Van Gogh’s Olive Picking (1889) is the first of a series of three the artist made during his stay at the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum in the south of France. The painting gleams with a dream-like light, as if painted on metal—a unique example of Van Gogh’s masterful appreciation of light and colour. Other seminal pieces include Picasso’s Woman Nude with Raised Arms (1907), also known as the Avignon Nude; one of the thirty or so paintings of the Rouen Cathedral painted by Claude Monet during the 1890s (the Goulandrises owned two); Auguste Rodin’s Eternal Spring (1884), an exquisite brass sculpture that was part of the artist’s studies for his magnum opus, the Gates of Hell; and other masterpieces by fin-de-siècle artists like Degas, Gaugin and Modigliani.

The museum also showcases some rare works by the most celebrated artists from the post-war era, many of whom were personal friends of Basil and Elise. In the foyer, a portrait of Elise by Chagall (1969) captures her beauty and well-mannered disposition, with Basil’s figure looming over her like a shadow. Jackson Pollock’s Number 13 (1950) is a surprisingly small work from the artist’s famous “drip period”. Francis Bacon’s Three Studies for Self-portrait (1972) held emotional significance for the artist because they were drawn right after his partner’s death.

Local art superstars

The Greek section of the museum features works by renowned artists from the 20th and 21st century like Ghika, Tsarouchis, Moralis, Takis, Kounelis, Fassianos, Tsoclis, and Tombros. These galleries are in fact an extension of the Goulandris Museum of Contemporary Art in Andros, which was founded by Basil and Elise in 1979 to house their extensive collection of Greek art. The importance of a collection of this status being accessible to the public cannot be overstated, especially given that most of these treasures were hidden around the world for decades. The most important works will be on permanent display, and the rest will be on rotation, so eventually the entire collection will be available to the public. However, visitors should bear in mind that this is a private museum for a private collection. Basil and Elise’s collection is a who-is-who of 20th-century European art, and includes masterpieces that have been loaned to major museums.

Yet no matter how eye-catching the names and how beautiful the items on display, one cannot help but notice that this is an exhibition of male, white artists who happened to be the personal favourites of a very powerful couple. It remains to be seen how the museum will develop a programme of parallel events, educational activities and temporary exhibitions to create a dialogue with contemporary cultural life in Athens.

That said, the new Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation museum is a must-see for art-lovers visiting Athens. It’s also the perfect excuse to find oneself in the most exciting part of Pangrati. After all, you don’t often get the Parthenon and a Picasso on the same day.

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The Goulandris collection destined for new Athens museum

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“Even if someone had this kind of money, they would never come across these works. They are no longer on the market,” Greek artist Pavlos (born Pavlos Dionysopoulos in 1930) once said of the stunning art collection amassed by Greek shipowner Basil Goulandris (who died in 1994). Pavlos, a friend of Goulandris and his wife, Elise, was absolutely right. Among the works that Goulandris started collecting in the 1950s are true masterpieces of contemporary art.

From the end of 2017 or the beginning of 2018, it is hoped that art lovers will finally be able to view a number of the works at the Goulandris Museum in Athens. Located on Eratosthenous Street in Pangrati, the museum is nearing completion and the aim is for it to host a rare corpus of artworks signed by Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, Alberto Giacometti, Auguste Renoir, Joan Miro, Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky, among others.

For the first time Kathimerini reveals some of the glorious paintings and sculptures that will go on display at the museum’s first floor.

While the full list of exhibits has not yet been disclosed (a number of works were recently tied to offshore companies named in the recently leaked Panama Papers), an ongoing legal battle in Switzerland is shedding light on the affair. Information stems from legal documents on the websites of the Swiss and US justice departments.

The litigation’s opposing parties are Aspasia Zaimis, a niece of Elise Goulandris, and the Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation and its director, Kyriakos Koutsomallis, executor of the deceased’s will (Elise Goulandris died in 2000).

While at certain stages of the process justice has appeared to lean toward the foundation, the procedure is far from over. This could explain certain aspects of the case, such as the mystery surrounding the collection, as well as a number of moves made by certain family members in the past.

The family feud and the offshore affair would have remained a strictly private matter for the Goulandris family if the collection was not headed for display in the Greek capital. Years ago, a negotiation between the foundation and the Greek state regarding the creation of a museum was based on the never-revealed catalog of works. While the state ceded two plots of land, located on Rigillis and Rizari streets, the project did not come to fruition. In this case, therefore, a private affair takes on a public dimension. But exactly what will be showcased at the museum which was eventually developed on land acquired by the foundation?

Gripping story

Even without the decisive public interest angle, the story has all the elements of a gripping story: shipping money, a chalet in Gstaad and a flat on the exclusive Avenue Foch in Paris, works by brilliant artists and international auctions through a trail taking its protagonists from Liechtenstein to Panama and the Greek island of Andros.

Focusing solely on Goulandris’s wealth while disregarding his personality would be largely unfair to the man. Born in 1913, Goulandris was a member of the 1930s generation, an avid art lover who mixed with the period’s cultured folk. One of the few to recognize the talent of Giorgos Bouzianis at the beginning of the artist’s career, the two men became friends when the latter returned from abroad.

Goulandris subsequently bought a number of his works. He believed in what Greece had to offer. His beautiful wife, who had become acquainted with the art world during her first marriage, had an innate sense of style and shared with him his vision of a museum to host the collection. Guests at the couple’s dinner parties in Paris included artists Chagall and Balthus, members of the Rothschild family and directors of leading museums.

The collection was built through hard work and money, via auctions as well as the couple’s personal relationships with art dealers and artists. Many of the masterpieces decorated the couple’s homes in Paris, Lausanne and Gstaad.

According to recent accounts in the international press, in 1985 Goulandris allegedly sold 83 of the collection’s works to Panama-registered Wilton Trading for 31.7 million dollars. The company was reportedly linked to his late sister Doda Goulandris Voridis (according to an earlier Bloomberg account). It is not known whether or not the sale was a bogus transaction, given that Basil and Elise held on to a number of works, some of which were loaned to museums. Following the construction of a museum on Andros, the couple wanted to see a second institution host the collection in Athens. The project began while they were both alive, but they did not live to see it materialize. A plan for the construction of a building designed by prominent American-Chinese architect I.M. Pei was abandoned following delays, excavations and Council of State decisions.

Following Elise’s death in 2000, her niece Aspasia Zaimis claimed a portion of the collection’s works. She based her claim on one of the interpretations of the will, according to which the invaluable works should not end up being part of the foundation’s assets, but go to Elise’s descendants. The case has yet to go to trial. Zaimis believes the works have disappeared and that some may have been sold.

Three plus one lists

Three separate lists of artworks appear in legal documents relating to the case which began in 2002. One list points to 30 works at the chalet in Gstaad, a second to 47 works at the Lausanne and Paris residences, while a third list of 85 works is most likely related to the Wilton Trading transaction. The existence of a fourth list is suggested in the documents, but is not attached. All together the lists add up to 162 works – quite possibly the foundation’s invaluable catalog of works with which it negotiated the Rigillis and Rizari museum plans with the state. Four of the pieces on the third list of 85 works were recently revealed through the leaked Panama Papers: Two Chagalls, one Van Gogh and a Bonnard appear to have changed hands through four short-lived offshore companies established in Panama in 2004. The companies appear to be related to the recently deceased Marie Voridis (Doda, Basil’s sister). According to a Swiss newspaper, the transactions were not meant to be tax-evading moves, but a way to preserve anonymity. The fact that the paintings were sold through offshore firms under no circumstances points to illegal activity. Could this be tied to the Zaimis case? No one knows.

What is certain is that the ongoing litigation has led the foundation – which wants the works to remain at the Athens museum – to shroud the collection in secrecy. What will happen when the works eventually go on display at the new building? According to a person familiar with the case, a solution has already been found in order for the acquisitions’ ownership not to be challenged.

Masterpieces

Among the masterpieces detected on the lists of legal documents are works that have gone on display at the Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation's Museum of Contemporary Art in Andros, including the museum's “The Classics of Modern Art” exhibition in 1999:

1. Edgar Degas, Petite danseuse de quatorze ans (1880-1881), sculpture

2. Paul Cezanne, La Campagne d’ Auvers sur Oise (1881-1882), painting

3. Claude Monet, Cathedrale de Rouen le matin (1894), painting.

4. Auguste Rodin, L’eternel printemps (1884), sculpture.

5. Paul Gauguin, Nature Morte aux pamplemousses (1901 -1902), painting.

6. Vincent Van Gogh, Nature Morte Cafetiere (1888), painting.

7. Pierre Bonnard, La Sortie de la Baignoire (1926 -1930), painting.

8. Pablo Picasso, Femme Nue aux bras leves (1907), painting.

9. Georges Braque, La Patience (1942), painting.

10. Fernand Leger, Elements Mecaniques (1919), painting.

11. Joan Miro, Paysage (1942), paintings.

12. Wassily Kandinsky, Beide gersteift (1932), painting.

13. Paul Klee, Dynamik eines Kopfes (1934), painting.

14. Max Ernst, Pendant que la terre dort (1956), painting.

15. Alberto Giacometti, Femme de Venise (1956), sculpture.

16. Francis Bacon, Three studies of a self portrait (1972), painting.

17. Jackson Pollock, Number 13 (1950)

18. Balthus, Paysage de Montecavello (1979), painting.

19. El Greco, La Santa Faz (1580), painting.

20. Fernando Botero, Still Life with green curtain (1982), painting.

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February 21, 2013

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Greek billionaire shipping magnate, Basil Goulandris died in 1994. His wife died in 2000. The couple owned a large billion-dollar worthy collection of art that was kept in their Alpine chalet in Gstaad, Switzerland. Bloomberg News reports that one of Goulandris’ heirs, Aspasia Zaimis, is seeking to recover parts of the Goulandris collection that were sold in 1985, which at one time contained works by Picasso, Monet, Degas and Cezanne.  Although the sale took place when both Mr. and Mrs. Goulandris were still alive, claimant has been quoted as saying “I believe with all my heart that the paintings were part of my inheritance.” Zaimis is a legatee under Elisa Goulandris’s will. Another beneficiary of the same will is the Elisa Goulandris Foundation, now under an investigation by the Swiss authorities.

The account of the allegations reads like fiction: a Greek heiress, masterworks sold to a Panamanian company, a cyphered will, an art historian/executor of the will suspect of falsifying titles of ownership, Swiss privacy laws, a death on a yacht, etc.

Claimant is represented by Ron Soffer of Soffer Avocats in Paris. One of the defendants is represented by Jean- Christophe Diserens of Etude Villa Olivier in Lausanne.

To learn more details about the Goulandris mystery, read “ Greek Heiress Suis After Chalet’s Picassos, Monets Vanish .”

Sources: Bloomberg News ; The Independent . Image: Vincent Van Gogh’s “Still Life: Coffee Pot” from Basil and Elise Goulandris collection.

Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only and is not meant to provide legal advice. Readers should not construe or rely on any comment or statement in this article as legal advice. For legal advice, readers should seek an attorney.

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Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation: Highlights from the Permanent Collection

Errika Gerakiti 21 February 2022 min Read

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Foundation’s director Kyriakos Koutsomallis, Fleurette Karadontis and Marie Koutsomallis with Picasso’s Nude Woman with Raised Arms.  Greek Travel Pages.

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Basil and Elise Goulandris were a Greek couple who met and married in the 1950s in Manhattan, New York. They were highly educated, with a profound respect for art. The couple started building an enviable art collection. Their collection included names such as Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Fernando Botero, Francis Bacon, Claude Monet, Nikki de Saint-Phalle, and many others. However, Basil and Elise Goulandris did not collect these artworks to showcase their wealth. Their goal was to build a museum of modern art in a central spot in Athens so that all people could see and admire them. Unfortunately, they passed away before the museum was built.

Finally, the  Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation  was completed and opened in 2019. Its collection is impressive. I visited the museum a while ago, and these are a few of my favorite highlights. If you find yourself in Athens, you should definitely pay a visit and view the entire collection.

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Photograph of Basil and Elise Goulandris. Foundation’s website. Detail.

1. La Santa Faz by Domenikos Theotokopoulos (El Greco)

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El Greco, The Veil of Santa Veronica , early 1580s, Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens, Greece. Photo by the author.

On the way to his crucifixion to Calvary, Jesus Christ fell while carrying his cross. A woman, Veronica, offered him her veil. Jesus Christ used it to wipe his sweat and blood and then returned it to her. When she took it, she realized that his face was imprinted on the veil, hence the name of the painting.

This is how the legend of Saint Veronica was born. It became widely popular in the 15th century, inspiring many great artists. To name a few,  Albrecht Dürer ,  Hieronymus Bosch ,  Correggio , and others. So, when  Theotokopoulos  decided to paint it, the subject was already a big tradition in Catholic art.

This specific variation was created by  Theotokopoulos  himself, not with his students. He painted the fabric folds, the lightning, and the harmony of Jesus’ face thoroughly. It is as if the face floats in the dark background. This painting summarizes the artist’s artistic journey, combining elements of  Byzantine  and Western art.

2. Eternal Springtime by Auguste Rodin

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Auguste Rodin, Eternal Springtime , 1884, bronze with brown patina, Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens, Greece.

The  Eternal Springtime  is a manifestation of Rodin’s love for  Camille Claudel . At first, she was his apprentice, but she later became his partner and lover. They had a passionate affair.  Rodin  was 24 years older than Claudel, which often caused quarrels. So, Rodin removed their age difference from the sculpture.

The male figure embraces the female protectively. The woman accepts the embrace with tenderness while both are lost in this passionate moment.

Eternal Springtime  became popular in 1898 when the couple had already broken up.

3. Patience by Georges Braque

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Georges Braque, Patience , 1942, Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens, Greece.

This piece is considered Braque’s masterpiece for the  WWII period . The artist created it after he self-isolated voluntarily in his studio during the Nazi occupation of Paris. The painting shows a claustrophobic interior with no source of natural light. The complex composition of vertical and zig-zag lines showcases a feeling of anxiety and loneliness.

A woman is sitting at a table, playing cards, as a means to trick her boredom. She looks like she has two sides. The one side that shows us her face has colors and light; she is daydreaming. The dark side does not have that many details, though. Here she only looks anxious and nervous. However, the figure does not represent only a woman. The figure represents the artist himself, as Braque shared many of the woman’s traits at that time.

4. Three Studies for Self-Portrait by Francis Bacon

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Francis Bacon, Three Studies for Self-Portrait , 1972, Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens, Greece.

Another gem of the Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation is this fascinating piece by  Francis Bacon .

Francis Bacon is famous for the distorted figures he painted. He used to paint alone in his studio, using negative photos, mostly of himself. He created many triptychs. At one point, he decided he would paint only large-scale and small-scale triptychs. He called the latter studies, even though he had completed all of them. This is the case for this specific painting as well.

Three Studies for Self-Portrait  shows Bacon with closed eyes against a black background. The face slowly erases from left to right, “A s if the void devours it .” In the right painting, we can no longer see the right eye and cheekbone. Furthermore, the eyes remain shut as the face transforms into a shapeless mass. This depiction shows Bacon’s shyness and sadness.

5. Nude Woman with Raised Arms by Pablo Picasso

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Pablo Picasso, Nude Woman with Raised Arms , 1907, Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens, Greece.

This is the first oil painting that Picasso completed, right after  The Young Ladies of Avignon . These two works signify the beginning of  Cubism .  Nude Woman with Raised Arms  includes many of the artist’s influences. Yet, it is an original piece, which shifts from past teachings. There is no third dimension here. It is a two-dimensional composition. The geometric shapes force the viewer to reconstruct the actual figure in their minds. Thus, it is a rather intellectual painting.

Its colors are dark and aggressive. One, the female figure adds light to the painting. Her pose indicates movement since she has both arms raised above her head. The face looks like a mask. Moreover, the overall shape of the woman, with its irregular proportions, depicts a universal female. Her nudity gives her confidence and power. In a way, she threatens the ordinary female beauty standards with her aggressiveness.

6. Olive Picking by Vincent van Gogh

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Vincent van Gogh, Olive Picking , 1889, Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens, Greece.

When talking about artists with  mental illnesses , the first name that comes to mind is that of Vincent van Gogh . His  mental health  had always been fragile, with many violent outbursts.

Right after he cut off his ear, Van Gogh went to Saint-Rémy-de-Provence’s psychiatric clinic. There, he painted non-stop. It is truly remarkable how one can see the differences in his paintings. When he had seizures, the brushstrokes were heavier, more aggressive. They also loaded more color onto the canvas. When he has calm, the overall feeling of his works is serene and peaceful.

During his stay at the  clinic , he liked to paint  nature , at least when he was allowed to go out. So, cypresses, mountains, and olive trees are recurring themes in his paintings during this period. Van Gogh created  Olive Picking  with the three women being present. The color story is soft and earthly. The heavy brushstrokes give the impression of moving leaves and sky, the working women. The artist created two more versions of this subject. Nevertheless, this one is more vibrant, as if it is a live scene.

7. Dynamic of a Head by Paul Klee

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Paul Klee, Dynamics of a Head , 1934, Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens, Greece.

During the rise of the nazi party,  Paul Klee  fled Germany because he was considered a  degenerated artist . He moved to Bern in Switzerland, where he worked on various techniques and subjects. He liked to examine opposite concepts, such as representation and abstraction, irony and poetry, etc.

In this painting, we observe the reconstruction of a head through several geometric shapes. It stands out from his other works of the same period due to the use of vibrant colors. Also, Klee put only eyes on the head as the only way to break the abstract pattern. We, as viewers, need to find by ourselves the forehead, the nose, the chin, and the shoulders.

Klee  was influenced heavily by  music . Dynamics was a term that stood for the range of sounds an instrument could make. In the case of this painting, dynamics represent the different alterations of the head, the different colors, and different perspectives.

8. The Painter’s Studio by Anselm Kiefer

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Anselm Kiefer, The Painter’s Studio , 1983, oil, emulsion, woodcut, shellac, acrylic paint, and straw on canvas, Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens, Greece.

Born in the ruins of WWII Germany,  Kiefer  believed that the artist’s role was to depict the dark faults of humanity. Moreover, he was constantly thinking about what modern people would do if they were in the shoes of the German people during their darkest times. On the other hand, Kiefer also believed that the artist ought to create beauty out of the mess and ugliness.

One of Kiefer’s favorite themes was the artist’s studio. It was the place where the artist was alone, recollecting his thoughts and creating. In this particular painting, we can see the studio from the outside. It looks like a witch’s hut or a destroyed building. At a first glance, the painting looks chaotic and pessimistic. Nevertheless, a closer look accents the beautiful colors that emerge in the composition. They symbolize hope amidst the abyss.

9. Still Life with Green Curtain by Fernando Botero

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Fernando Botero, Still Life with Green Curtain , 1982, Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens, Greece.

Botero is famous for his  chubby figures . This still life from the Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation is no exception. In this painting, the artist used only five colors. His goal was to keep things simple. The fact that all objects are round and curvy makes the viewer want to devour or squeeze them. So,  Botero  managed to engage the audience by accessing their dark thoughts of gluttony and greed.

10. Nude with White Flower by Roy Lichtenstein

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Roy Lichtenstein, Nude with White Flower , 1994, tape, pencil, acrylic paint, marker and printed paper on board, Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens, Greece.

This is an introductory collage for  Lichtenstein ‘s future oil painting,  Nude with Yellow Flower . Actually, he made a series of nudes in the 1960s and then during the years 1993 to 1997. He drew inspiration from the DC romance comic books.

In this collage, Lichtenstein followed a procedure of multiple steps of creation. Besides, it is one of his characteristics as an artist. Even though the artwork looks like a  comic strip , it does not have many elements left from the original. The woman wears nothing, has a mobile phone, and has no speech bubbles. She is sexualized, but not because of a male presence.

We hope you enjoyed these ten highlights from the Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation. As aforementioned, the museum’s collection is vast, and it includes many great names. Hopefully, these highlights will make you visit the museum and see its treasures yourself!

  • Anselm Kiefer
  • Auguste Rodin
  • Fernando Botero
  • francis bacon
  • georges braque
  • pablo picasso
  • Roy Lichtenstein
  • Vincent van Gogh

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Errika Gerakiti

Errika has a Master's degree in curatorial practices. She has been a writer for DailyArt Magazine since 2019 and loves sharing what she loves: weird, unusual art, female artists, and contemporary creations.

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Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation

An impressive Museum of Modern Art, showcasing the mythical collection of Basil & Elise Goulandris, opened for the public in October 2019 and now adorns the centre of Athens.

“Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation” museum bears the name of its founders and is housed in a stunning, modern building, a few metres away from Panathenaic Stadium (Kallimarmaro). It is a self-owned property, which occurred from the harmonious interaction between a listed, interwar building and a contemporary extension.

The extraordinary museum was designed specifically in order to house the collection of B&E Goulandris Foundation. The collection mainly focuses on modern and contemporary art by Greek and foreign artists, including rare works by masters of the European avant-garde such as Cézanne, Monet, Gauguin, Degas, Miró, van Gogh, Rodin, Bonnard, Picasso, Giacometti, Léger, Toulouse-Lautrec, Braque, Balthus , as well as works by distinguished modern Greek painters including Parthenis, Tsarouchis, Moralis, Tetsis, Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas, Bouzianis, Vassiliou and others.

The museum building has a total surface area of 7,250 sq.m. and extends over 11 floors , five of which are below ground. The exhibition areas cover a total of five floors, four above ground with a surface area of 1,124 sq.m. housing the permanent collection and one below ground with a surface area of 530 sq.m. that hosts temporary exhibitions of Greek and foreign artists, in the context of the Foundation’s established exhibition policy which has pervaded its activities in Andros island over the last forty years.

The ground floor features the museum shop where visitors can purchase publications by the Foundation and other publishing houses as well as gifts, while the museum’s café-restaurant is located on the mezzanine floor. It is an open, urban garden ideal for coffee, breakfast, lunch or light dinner that offers the most contemporary version of an international Greek cuisine, taking full advantage of fresh, exclusively Mediterranean ingredients.

The floors below ground host a library with around 6,500 books, children’s workshop which hosts educational programmes and art classes for children, as well as a state-of-the-art 187-seat amphitheatre which hosts events including lectures, conferences, screenings, performances, concerts and other artistic and scientific activities.

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Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation

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The newest blockbuster museum in Athens is home to a roll call of modern art masters, from Van Gogh to Picasso.

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Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens

Picasso, monet, el greco and others are on display in the newly opened b & e goulandris foundation museum in the centre of athens., related experiences.

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  • English - EN
  • Ελληνικά - EL
  • Athens - Permanent Collection
  • Athens - Temporary Exhibition
  • Andros – Temporary Exhibition
  • Events and education

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in the Colours of the Mediterranean

10.01 - 07.04.2024, b&e goulandris foundation, athens, neo-impressionism in the colours of the mediterranean.

A comprehensive tribute to the Neo-Impressionism art movement for the first time in Greece

The Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation joins forces with major European museums and presents, for the first time in Greece , a comprehensive tribute to the Neo-Impressionism art movement focusing on the Mediterranean region, that will run from January 10 until April 7, 2024 .

The exhibition “ Neo-Impressionism in the Colours of the Mediterranean ” (1891-1914) takes place in collaboration with important European museums and organisations including the Musée d’Orsay , the National Gallery in London , Centre Pompidou , the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Besançon , the Musée de l’Annonciade , the Musée de Grenoble , the Musée national d’archéologie, d’histoire et d’art – Luxembourg and the Mus é e des Arts D é coratifs as well as European private collectors. The exhibition will feature works by Paul Signac , Henri-Edmond Cross , Maximilien Luce , Théo van Rysselberghe , Henri Matisse , Henri Manguin and Louis Valtat , most of which will go on display for the first time in Greece.

Marina Ferretti Bocquillon , Scientific Director Emerita at the Giverny Museum of Impressionisms (musée des impressionnismes Giverny) and Marie Koutsomallis-Moreau , Head of Collections at the Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, are the exhibition’s curators.

Under the auspices of the French Ministry of Culture

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Catalogue of the Exhibition

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Exhibition Catalog

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2024 Exhibition Catalogue

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  • Published 2024

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IMAGES

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  2. Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation

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  3. Greek shipping magnate Basil Goulandris and his wife Elise stand in

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  4. Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation: Christophoros Doulgeris "In the

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  5. Basil Goulandris

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  6. Athens’ Basil & Elise Goulandris Museum Opens to Modern Art Lovers

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  1. Συναντήσεις στο Μουσείο : Ο Νεοϊμπρεσιονισμος στα χρωματα της Μεσογειου

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COMMENTS

  1. Basil Goulandris

    Nikos Goulandris (brother) Vassilis P. " Basil " Goulandris (1913 - 27 April 1994) was a Greek shipowner, and the founder of Greece's first Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art Andros. [1] He and his wife died childless and left an art collection worth $3 billion, which has been the subject of long-running litigation since she ...

  2. Goulandris collection of Modern masterworks finally revealed in new

    Basil Goulandris made his fortune from the Orion Shipping and Trading Company after the Second World War. He entered the big collecting league in 1957, when he bid a then record $297,000 for a ...

  3. The Goulandris Museum of Modern Art

    This explains why there are so many Goulandris museums in Athens: the Museum of Cycladic Art was founded by Nicholas (Basil's twin brother) and Dolly Goulandris, while the Goulandris Museum of Natural History owes its name to founders Angelos and Niki Goulandris. 1st floor: Classics of Modern Art. Courtesy: Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation.

  4. The Goulandris collection destined for new Athens museum

    They are no longer on the market," Greek artist Pavlos (born Pavlos Dionysopoulos in 1930) once said of the stunning art collection amassed by Greek shipowner Basil Goulandris (who died in 1994). Pavlos, a friend of Goulandris and his wife, Elise, was absolutely right. Among the works that Goulandris started collecting in the 1950s are true ...

  5. Goulandris Affair: Who sold the Art and Why?

    Greek billionaire shipping magnate, Basil Goulandris died in 1994. His wife died in 2000. The couple owned a large billion-dollar worthy collection of art that was kept in their Alpine chalet in Gstaad, Switzerland. Bloomberg News reports that one of Goulandris' heirs, Aspasia Zaimis, is seeking to recover parts of the Goulandris collection that were sold in 1985, which at

  6. The Collection of the Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation

    VISIT. The Collection of the Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation is one of the most important private collections to be assembled in the course of the second half of the 20 th century. The primary objective of the new museum built in Athens is to house the collection and make it accessible to all, as was the wish of its founders.

  7. Highlights from the Goulandris Foundation

    Pablo Picasso, Nude Woman with Raised Arms, 1907, Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens, Greece. This is the first oil painting that Picasso completed, right after The Young Ladies of Avignon. These two works signify the beginning of Cubism. Nude Woman with Raised Arms includes many of the artist's influences.

  8. Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation

    Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation. An impressive Museum of Modern Art, showcasing the mythical collection of Basil & Elise Goulandris, opened for the public in October 2019 and now adorns the centre of Athens. "Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation" museum bears the name of its founders and is housed in a stunning, modern building, a few ...

  9. A tour of the Goulandris Museum of Modern Art in Athens

    Part of the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation, it is a gift that was more than 30 years in the making. The ship-owning couple accumulated their collection mainly at auctions in London and New York and always dreamed of exhibiting it in Athens (the smaller Goulandris Museum of Contemporary Art in their native Andros has operated since 1979).

  10. Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation

    The late Basil and Elise Goulandris' private art collection includes rare sculptures, paintings, and sketches that offer a panorama of the most important artists of the 18th, 19th and early 20th century—including Picasso, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Monet, Degas, Pollock, Bacon, and Chagall. There are also two floors dedicated to 20th century and ...

  11. Museum of Contemporary Art, Andros

    The Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation was established in 1979. It is a non-profit organisation whose main purpose is the operation of the museums on Andros and Athens, as well as the promotion of the visual Arts at national and international level. ... the Andros Yacht Club and the chapel of Agia Thalassini. It is ideal for hosting social ...

  12. Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens

    Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens Picasso, Monet, El Greco and others are on display in the newly opened B & E Goulandris Foundation museum in the centre of Athens. The contemporary European Art has found a new home in the vicinity of the Panathenaic Stadium, Athens, in an imposing 11 storey-building which is a combination of ...

  13. Goulandris Collection Legal Battle Drags

    The massive art collection amassed by Greek billionaire Basil Goulandris is allegedly worth $3 billion, and everyone wants a piece of it. A $3 billion art collection is at the heart of the case.

  14. Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation

    The Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation was established in 1979. It is a non-profit organisation whose main purpose is the operation of the museums on Andros and Athens, as well as the promotion of the visual Arts at national and international level.

  15. The $3 Billion Family Art Feud

    The $3 Billion Family Art Feud. Greek shipping mogul Basil Goulandris and his wife, Elise, aren't household names, but the 16-year family feud over their art collection could become the stuff of ...

  16. Goulandris Basil Switzerland

    The Greek shipowner settled in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1965. Basil P. Goulandris was born on the Island of Andros in the Aegean Sea. His father, Ioahnis Goulandris, with the help of his five sons, founded a shipbuilding company to connect the islands of the region. During the Second World War, the family assisted the Allies and, after the war ...

  17. Alexandros Goulandris

    Alexandros J. "Aleko" Goulandris (1927 - 25 May 2017) was a Greek shipowner, the son of Nicholas J. Goulandris, the founder of N. J. Goulandris. In 1952, his father left the family firm, Goulandris Bros., and founded N. J. Goulandris in London.

  18. Machine-Building Plant (Elemash)

    In 1954, Elemash began to produce fuel assemblies, including for the first nuclear power plant in the world, located in Obninsk. In 1959, the facility produced the fuel for the Soviet Union's first icebreaker. Its fuel assembly production became serial in 1965 and automated in 1982. 1. Today, Elemash is one of the largest TVEL nuclear fuel ...

  19. Elektrostal

    In 1938, it was granted town status. [citation needed]Administrative and municipal status. Within the framework of administrative divisions, it is incorporated as Elektrostal City Under Oblast Jurisdiction—an administrative unit with the status equal to that of the districts. As a municipal division, Elektrostal City Under Oblast Jurisdiction is incorporated as Elektrostal Urban Okrug.

  20. Neo-Impressionism

    The Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation joins forces with major European museums and presents, for the first time in Greece, a comprehensive tribute to the Neo-Impressionism art movement focusing on the Mediterranean region, that will run from January 10 until April 7, 2024.. The exhibition "Neo-Impressionism in the Colours of the Mediterranean" (1891-1914) takes place in collaboration ...

  21. 628DirtRooster

    Welcome to the 628DirtRooster website where you can find video links to Randy McCaffrey's (AKA DirtRooster) YouTube videos, community support and other resources for the Hobby Beekeepers and the official 628DirtRooster online store where you can find 628DirtRooster hats and shirts, local Mississippi honey and whole lot more!

  22. The flag of Elektrostal, Moscow Oblast, Russia which I bought there

    Its a city in the Moscow region. As much effort they take in making nice flags, as low is the effort in naming places. The city was founded because they built factories there.