Panayiotis Tetsis (1925-2016)

Born 1925 in Hydra. Began his studies in painting under Klaus Frislander 1940. His acquaintance with Pikionis and Hatzikyriakos-Ghikas was to be a determining influence on his subsequent career. In 1951 was appointed lecturer in free-hand drawing in the Faculty of Architecture of the National Technical University of Athens and was later elected professor in the Athens School of Fine Arts. During his career has received a grant from the State Scholarships Foundation (1953), an honorary scholarship from the Italian state (1960), and a grant from the Ford Foundation (1972). Held his first solo exhibition in 1948 at the Romvos Gallery in Athens. Since then has held more than 40 solo exhibitions and participated in at least 20 group exhibitions, most notably the Sao Paulo Biennale (1957 and 1965) and the Alexandria Biennale (1959), as well as the International Engraving Exhibitions in Lugano and Tokyo (1960 and 1964).

Among the distinctions his work has earned him should be mentioned the Critics' Prize (Keranis Award) for his Shipyard (1962). Tetsis has published articles on art. During the 1980s he translated and edited Cennino Cennini's The Craftsman's Handbook, or: a dissertation on painting.

Tetsis's preferred media and techniques are oil, water-colours, and engraving, usually on copperplate. The Hydra landscape first inspired him to paint. His compositions are fully articulated in their organisation, with each part clearly discernible, and geometrical shapes recur regularly throughout the course of his career. Nevertheless, it would appear that his main objective has been to highlight the design through colour and its various tones. His devotion to representational art has been constant.

His early works are studies of Hydra, employing an austere range of colours and a solidly structured composition assisted by the use of fundamental geometric shapes. The work he presented at the Zygos Gallery in Athens in 1958 on his return from Paris confirmed his unswerving dedication to his original choice of subject, but revealed a definite enrichment of his chromatic scale, which had become more intense and vivid.

Between 1958 and 1961 he painted a series of windows and half-open balcony doors, endeavouring to explore the play of light as it passes from interior to exterior and vice versa. Over the next few years (in the 1960s) he would paint outdoors, fascinated by the neoclassical houses of Athens, their colours and shapes. Colour and light are now equal partners in his compositions on his return to Hydra, but also in the paintings of other Greek island landscapes.



  • ‘P. Tetsis. Painting 1979-1982’, National Art Gallery & A. Soutzos Museum, Athens, 1983
  • P. Tetsis, Nees Morfes Gallery, Athens 1990
  • P. Tetsis, Vafopoulos Cultural Centre, Thessaloniki, Oct. - Nov. 1991
  • ‘Tetsis: 35 years of painting’, Pieridis Art Gallery, Athens, May 1992
  • ‘P. Tetsis, Hydra, cape, variations’, Athens 1993
  • ‘P. Tetsis: Watercolours, 1991-1995’, Nees Morfes Gallery, Athens, 1995
  • ‘P. Tetsis, the artist’s audacity to write’, Athens 1995
  • Christou 1996, pp. 26, 237, 238
  • O.S., ‘Colourful geometry, Kathimerini, 11 July 1998
  • ‘Panayiotis Tetsis’, Municipal Arts Centre Nicosia, 4 June - 12 July 1998
  • ‘P. Tetsis. Painting’, Nees Morfes Gallery, Athens 1999
  • ‘P. Tetsis, without television’, Athens 2001.

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