George Negroponte

George Negroponte

Greek - American
1953 -


George Negroponte was born in 1953 in New York. A descendant of a wealthy family, who left Greece in 1939 due to World War II, he came in contact with art at an early age. His mother, Ekaterini Koumantarou, worked at the Engravings and Drawings Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, while his father, the shipowner Dimitrios Negrepontis, spent his free time painting. He studied painting at Yale University (1971-1975) with professors Bernard Chaet, William Bailey and Al Held. In 1973 he received his first award, the Purchase Prize in Painting from the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in Maine.

From the beginning of his career in the mid-1970s he turned to abstraction. Negroponte was particularly influenced by the management of color in the works of Venetian painters and Pierre Bonnard, but also by abstract expressionism, especially by Mark Rothko and Theodoros Stamos, as revealed by the gestural brushstrokes of the first and intensely colored and atmospheric canvases.

His works were first exhibited in 1977 at the Drawing Center in New York. Negroponte’s collaboration with the Drawing Center will continue in the coming decades: from 1982-1984 he will be in charge of exhibitions, in 1989 he will be a member of the board of directors, to finally be promoted to president of the Foundation in the period 2002-2007. He was also a member of the artistic committees of the New York State Council of the Arts (1985-1994), from which he received the Individual Artists Award in 1988. In the meantime he developed intense exhibition activity. His works have been exhibited at the Galleria d ‘Arte Moderna (Venice, 1983), at the Museum of Modern Art (New York, 1984), at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, 1987), at the Leo Castelli Gallery (New York, 1988), at the Vassilis and Elizas Goulandris Museum (Andros, 1991), at the Yale University Art Gallery (Connecticut, 1993), at the Edobori Gallery (Osaka, Japan, 1994), at the State Museum of Contemporary Art (Thessaloniki, 2000) and at the Kouros Gallery (New York, 2007). Solo exhibitions were held in the following galleries in New York at the Brooke Alexander, Inc. (1981, 1983, 1985), John Good (1987, 1988) and Jason McCoy, Inc. (1990, 1991, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2003, 2005), among others. He also taught at the School of Visual Arts (New York, 1986-1987), at New York Studio School (1990-1999), at Parsons School of Design (New York, 1996-1999) and as a lecturer in Visual Arts at Princeton University (1999- 2000).

His establishment in Stockholm in 2007 marks the beginning of a new creative period. He abandons the canvas and the crate and works with paper, which he tears into pieces, then reassembles various parts of it. Influenced by Swedish design, he soon replaced paper with wood, cut in such a way that the trunk rings were visible, thus introducing the element of time into the compositions. In wood panels, which were intended to be presented as diptychs, he applies pieces of paper, wallpaper, linoleum and plastic, causing multiple correlations between colored forms, patterns, textures and the (sometimes colored) wooden surface.

In 2012 he returned to New York and settled in Springs, East Hampton. Since then, he has been creating mixed media projects using common paint store dyes, cardboard, spray paint, putty, gesso, wallpaper, various labels, other ready-made materials as well as objects he finds on his walks in the nearby forests. In 2018 he will edit works on paper again, this time in collaboration with his wife, the artist Virna Hinnemo. Now he is trying to redefine the relationship of the objects with the exposure surface, as his compositions may be nailed directly to the wall or include volumes protruding from it in various arrangements.

His exhibition presence remained undiminished with solo exhibitions in Athens (Skoufa Gallery, 2010) and New York (Kouros Gallery, 2010, 2011, Ille Arts, 2015, Anita Rogers Gallery, 2016, 2019), as well as in group exhibitions in Sweden, Greece and the USA. His works are located in important collections and museums in Greece, USA, etc.

Xenia Giannouli
Art Historian