Konstantinos (Ntikos) Byzantios

Konstantinos (Ntikos) Byzantios

1924 - 2007


Konstantinos (Ntikos) Byzantios was born in Athens in 1924. His father was painter Pericles Byzantios and his mother Effrosini Skoumbourdis. Growing up in a family with a rich social and artistic activity, he began painting at the age of six next to his godfather, the important costume designer of the National Theater Antonis Fokas. Although his parents split up in 1936, they both resided in houses in Haritos Street in Kolonaki, and thus Dikos Byzantios remained close to his mother and sister Marilena Liakopoulou. From 1942 to 1945, he studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts under Konstantinos Parthenis and Umberto Argyros. During that period, he met personalities who later defined the culture of modern Greece, such as Manos Hadjidakis, Minos Argyrakis and Nanos Valaoritis. In 1944 he was arrested during the Dekemvriana clashes in Athens and sent to the El Dabaa camp in Egypt for four months. Upon his return, he was selected by the French state from among 200 scholars and traveled on the “Mataroa” ship to Paris in 1945. Since 1946, he started attending courses at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and the Académie Julian. He stayed in the student dormitory, learned to engrave under engraver Dimitris Galanis, bought an engraving press and sold his first works. The following year Byzantios moved out of the dormitory and into a hotel. 1947 was also the year he met with Alberto Giacometti. In 1951, he held his first solo exhibition at Ariel Gallery in Paris. His works from this period are characterized by a dark atmosphere and a cubist approach of interior spaces and landscapes. He held his second solo exhibition in 1955 at Zachariou Gallery in Athens, without being able to attend, since as a draft evader he had no passport. He was able to travel to Greece the following year, a fact which had a visible impact on his work, as evidenced by the bright landscapes of Hydra he created during this period and presented in a solo exhibition at Zygos Gallery. His work during the 1960s was characterized by an incomplete abstraction, which coexisted with recognizable forms, mostly of the human body. In 1963, he bought a studio and a house on Petits Champs Street in Paris. In the early 1970s, Byzantios returned to figuration with his characteristic pierre noire drawings of urban life scenes, prefaced by Michel Foucault for the 1974 Karl Flinker Gallery solo exhibition in Paris. His painting then came to be of an anthropocentric nature which evolved technically and stylistically since the 1980s onwards. In 1985, he was awarded the title of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres and, in 1990, the title of Officier des Arts et des Lettres. In 1997, a retrospective exhibition of his works was held at the Espace des Arts in Chalon-sur-Saône, France. His next retrospective exhibition took place at the Benaki Museum in Athens shortly before his death in Mallorca in 2007. His works can be found in the collections of the National GalleryAlexandros Soutsos Museum, the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens and the Museum of Contemporary Art of the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation.