Argyros Umbertos (1882-1963)

The War Painter

  • This Greek impressionist studied under Lytras and Roilos, then continued his studies in Munich. He returned to Athens in 1929, and was elected to teach at the Athens School of Fine Art, which he would eventually come to direct.
  • Many noted Greek artists studied with him in his workshop, notably Moralis.
  • During World War II, he was ordered by the Metaxa government to go to the frontline in the official capacity of war iconographer. The resulting works are exhibited in Athens’ Museum of War.
  • He participated in many exhibitions in Greece and beyond, including twice at the Venice Biennale in 1934 and 1936. In 1952, the Athens Academy awarded him the Prize of Arts and Letters, electing him as a member in 1959.
  • Although his early works mostly cover mythological and symbolist themes, in subsequent years he would deal with portraits, daily life and nudes.