Aristodimos Kaldis

Aristodimos Kaldis

Greek / American
1899 - 1979


Aristodimos Kaldis was born in Dikili, Asia Minor. He spent his school years in Lesbos and Izmir and, at the age of just 14, he took over the family shipping business. In 1915, he traveled to Paris and, in 1917, he settled in the United States. In 1922, he worked at the Hood Rubber Company tire factory that distributed military boots in Watertown, Massachusetts. He also represented labor organizations in Boston and participated in the publication of an international Trotskyist newspaper. Without any artistic studies, he began working in 1934 as the Head of Research in the Mosaics Section of the Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration, alongside Diego Rivera, while, at the same time, he pursue painting. This position brought him into contact with abstract expressionists, including Franz Kline, Arshile Gorky, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, Mary Abbott, Adolph Gottlieb and Nicholas Marsicano and this is when he began gaining reputation as a painter. As a result, a few years later he became one of the first living artists whose work was acquired by the Albert C. Barnes Foundation in Merion. That same year, he married Laurie Eglington, an art critic and editor of the Art News magazine. He was also affiliated with the Communist League of America and pioneered the New York Hotel strike alongside B.J. Field and Ben Gitlow. In 1941, he held his first solo exhibition at the Artist's Gallery in New York and, in 1942, he held his second solo exhibition at the Carlen Gallery in Philadelphia. In the artworks of that period, his impressionist influences are evident in the vivid colors, the simple lines, the light touches and the sparsely detailed forms. These often depicted the Mediterranean landscape, where he spent his childhood, and lyrical scenes of sunny seaside life, such as for example in the Aegean Village, 1941. He then adopted abstract expressionist elements producing more non-figurative forms and compositions. In paintings such as the Minerva Surveying Europa, 1974, he combined large areas of the white canvas with spots and color bursts which suggested the surrounding environment. His landscapes often represented real locations, such as Gloucester Massachusetts, 1976, and Cagnes Hillside, 1974. From 1944 to 1950, he lectured on art, philosophy and archaeology at Carnegie Hall in New York. He also taught at the educational institutions of the University of Oregon, the Maryland College of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Louisiana State University and the Parsons School of Design. In 1956, he participated in the exhibition The Thirties at the Pointdexter Gallery along with artists Jackson Pollock, Stuart Davis, John D. Graham, Ad Reinhardt, Mark Rothko and others, an event that marked the recognition of his contribution to painting. In 1975 and 1977, he was awarded scholarships from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum for the implementation of paintings representing American landscapes. His last solo exhibition took place at the Kornblee Gallery in New York, in September 1977. He died in New York in 1979. Many exhibitions followed after his death in art spaces and institutions in New York, such as: the Artists' Choice Museum (1979, 1985), the National Academy in New York (1979), the Kouros Gallery (1984), the Sid Deutsch Gallery in New York (1988), the Broome Street Gallery (1993), the Queens Museum in New York (1999), the Foundation for Hellenic Culture (1999), the Gallery of the College of Staten Island (2000), the Lori Bookstein Fine Art gallery (1999, 2006, 2007).