Constantin Andreou

Constantin Andreou

1917 - 2007


Constantin Andreou was born in São Paulo, Brazil, in 1917. In 1925, he came to Greece with his family. Since he was a child, he was interested in art and, since 1932, he started sculpting. He began to work in a furniture store to earn his living, even though his real desire was to study at the Athens School of Fine Arts. In 1934, he began studying furniture design at the Athens Craft Evening School and frequently visited the Archaeological Museum and studied ancient Greek sculpture. In 1940, he started working at the studio of painter Nikos Nikolaou. In 1945, with a scholarship from the French Government, he moved to Paris and studied at the School of Decorative Arts. The following year, he held his first solo exhibition inside the university. In 1947, he enrolled at the Paris School of Fine Arts for a short period of time and later worked for architect Le Corbusier, where he created maquettes and studies on architectural forms. Through this process he gained new insights into the relationship between architecture and sculpture as well as the function of colors within space. During this period, he began abandoning realist elements in his sculptural work, as well as the exploitation of marble and stone, and adopted the use of brass. He also discovered the welding technique that would allow him to devise his own sculptural idiom and make him a pioneer who would constantly invent unexpected shapes and expressionistic forms with surrealistic extensions. In 1956, he developed his own technique and introduced the void, movement and splitting of forms into his works. In works such as Martine’s Portrait, 1956, and the series Sirens, 1956, form and color are confronted, united or separated through the movement of curves, angles and projections. Since 1958, his involvement with the subject of the Eye led him to new transformations and to the creation of works that acted as symbols of insight; at the same time, he created impressive series of colorful reliefs based on the subject of the Sun. In 1961, he produced his first engravings, many of them in relief. In 1967, he bought a house in La Ville-du-Bois. In the same year, he presented the new series of sculptures The Aerostatics, which were in permeable forms, depth-free volumes and developed geometrical orders. He highlighted the relationship between matter and space and linked light with color both in his sculptures and in his color reliefs. His paintings are distinguished for their impressionistic features, explosive color combinations and the cubist rendering of space. Among the themes that concerned him throughout his career were the human existence, which is evident in artworks such as the Extinct Human, 1975, where he outlined the tragic aspects of the human face by distorting it, as well as the female entity whose lyrical, poetic and sensual elements were analyzed by him in all their dimensions, either sculpturally or by means of painting. Additional sources of inspiration for him were nature's phenomena, the universe, animals’ posture and movements, time and the succession of seasons. In 1982, he was given the lead as chairman of the Salon d’Automne for sculpture and, in 1988, he was awarded the Gran Prix d’Antoine Pevsner for his work Egg-Family. In 2001, he was proclaimed Knight of the Legion of Honor by the French State and, in 2003, he created thirty sculptures, paintings and engravings for the library of the municipality of Ville-du-Bois. In the same year, he returned to Greece and, in 2004, founded the Costas Andreou Foundation. In 2005, he was conferred the distinction of Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French State. He died in Athens in 2007. During his lifetime, he held 80 solo and 150 group exhibitions in France, Greece, Brazil, the USA, Canada, Japan and other parts of the world and designed stages and costumes for theater and opera performances in various cities in France. Some of the international events he participated in included the Salon d’Automne (1949, 1951, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1988) in Paris, the Antwerp Biennale (1953), the Venice Biennale (1966), the International Contemporary Sculpture Exhibition at the Rodin Museum (1956, 1958, 1961) in Paris, the Ljubljana Engraving Biennale (1963) and the Padua Biennale (1975). Retrospective exhibitions of his have been organized, among others, in Saint Jeoire-en-Faucigny (1959), at the Musée des Beaux Arts (1971) in Le Havre, the Municipal Gallery of Athens (1998) and the Teloglion Fine Arts Foundation of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (2004).