Andreas Georgiadis Kris, “Οι δύο φίλοι (The Two Friends)”, 1965, Oil on Canvas
Born in 1892 in Chania, a city on the northwest coast of Crete, Andreas Georgiadis Kris was a Greek painter whose work was influenced by the western art tradition. Due to the rebellion of the Greek Army against the rule of the Ottoman Empire and the subsequent burning of the city of Chania, the family moved to Egypt in 1896, where Andreas Kris spent his childhood in Cairo and Ismailia. As he grew older, he became employed in the workshop of the interior contractor V. Vernardos, and later became an assistant painter and decorator under Orlando in Cairo. Recommended to the architectural firm of the Nistri brothers, Kris remained with this firm for three years.
In 1910, Andreas Kris traveled to Athens and took the entrance exam at its School of Fine Arts, which gave him admittance to the third class under portraiture painter Dimitris Geraniotis. After the start of the Balkan Wars, Kris volunteered for military duty in 1912, joined a unit of Garibaldi volunteers known as the Red Tunics, and later, in the Battle of Drisco, suffered the loss of an eye at the city of Kriftsi in Greece. After leaving military service, Kris resumed his studies at the School of Fine Arts where, from 1914 to 1923, he trained under Ceorgios Roilou, Georgios Jakovibis, and Spyridon Vikatos, all portraiture and genre painters of the Munich School tradition.
In 1922, Andreas Kris was awarded first prize in the Panhellenic Arts Competition for his work depicting the 1826 heroic exit of the Greeks from their city of Missolonghi, which was under siege by the Turkish army during the Greek War of Independence. He later won first prize in an exhibition at Athens’ Polytechnic which secured him a four-year scholarship to study in Europe. Kris studied in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux Arts and at three free academies, including the Julian Academy. During this scholarship period, he frequently traveled throughout Europe to study the masterworks in the museums of Paris, Madrid, Antwerp, Brussels, and Ghent. From these studies, Kris produced a series of twenty-five studies based on the works of Ruben, Van Dyke, Velasquez, and Jusepe de Ribera.
Returning to Greece in 1929, Andreas Kris had his first solo exhibition at Athens’s Parnassos Hall; his collection of forty works received critical attention from Zacharias Papantoniou, who was the Director of the National Gallery. In August of 1929, Kris received the Heracles Voltos Scholarship form the University of Athens, which enabled him to study, both in Paris and Rome, the development and techniques of western European art.
Andreas Kris traveled and studied for seven years in Italy, which included a one-year training period at the Regia Seuola per Industrie Artistiche under fresco painter Mario Roversi. In 1930, Andreas Kris’s oil painting “Manna” was accepted for the new work exhibition at the Salon in Paris’s Grand Palais on Champs-Élysées. At the 1934 Venice International Exhibition, Kris entered three works, one of which was his “Portrait of a Friend”. After contributing to the oversight of the 1935 restoration work on Athens’s Old Royal Palace’s murals, he was selected to send one of his works to the 1936 International Exhibition in Sydney, Australia. Later in the same year, Kris exhibited works, which included portraits, in two collective shows held at the Atelier Gallery.
Andreas Kris was appointed as the Chair of Painting at Athens’s School of Fine Arts in 1947, where he taught composition and color studies for fourteen years. Invited to show his work at the 25th Venice International Exhibition held in 1950, he exhibited ten paintings, of which his work of chiaroscuro, entitled “The Fall”, received critical acclaim. Kris participated in the 1957 Mediterranean Exhibition held in Alexandria and, two years later, showed eighty paintings at a retrospective of his work held at Athens’s Parnassos Hall.
In 1962, the Ioannina Gallery, which holds a collection of over five hundred works, mounted a thirty-two work retrospective of Kris’s oeuvre and awarded him a gold medal in recognitions of his military service and contribution to the arts. From 1965 to 1970, Andreas Kris held the elected post of President of the Chamber of Arts, a position he used to lobby the government for legislation providing pensions for retired artists. He regularly participated in the annual Panhellenic Exhibitions and in group exhibitions abroad, including shows in Belgrade, Bucharest and Moscow.
Andreas Georgiadis Kris died in 1981. In December of 1986, the Director of the National Gallery presented the first complete retrospective of Kris’s oeuvre as a tribute to his career as a painter. Andreas Kris’s work is held in many national museums, public institutions, and private collections in Greece and abroad.
Top Insert Image: Andreas Georgiadis Kris, Still Life, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 46 x 55.5 cm, National Gallery of Greece
Middle Insert Image: Andreas Georgiadis Kris, “The Praying Man, Nude Study”, Date Unknown, Graphite on Paper
Bottom Insert Image: Andreas Georgiadis Kris, “Jeune Homme au Gilet Vert”, 1943, Oil on Canvas, 60.5 x 50 cm, Private Collection