The Municipal Art Gallery of Chania, in collaboration with the Museum-Library of Stratis Eleftheriadis-Tériade, presents an exhibition dedicated to the publisher Tériade, with works from his collection in Mytilene.
As a scholar, art critic, publisher, collector, Stratis Eleftheriadis, a native of Lesbos also known as Tériade, stood out as one of the most prominent and influential figures in the world history of modern art. Settled in Paris at the beginning of the 20th century, he worked together with international avant-garde artists. Through the issues of his self-published art journal “Verve”, for which he commissioned these artists to produce special art book editions – known as the “Artists’ Books” (Livres d’artistes) – that they designed with complete freedom, Tériade promoted and enriched their work. His active publishing contribution had a major impact on the establishment of European Modernism, as well as on the re-evaluation of the ancient and medieval arts under contemporary terms. At the same time, he maintained his bonds to his homeland and highlighted the work of folk painter Theophilos, being thus one of the first to recognize and promote the value of Greek Folk Art.
As the curator of this exhibition Manolis Karterakis remarks, “the Museum-Library of Stratis Eleftheriadis-Tériade hosts a collection of high aesthetic value that constitutes a rare cultural legacy left to Greece from European Modernism. Not only does it showcase Book Art but, through the artists’ especially careful visual negotiations of both the illustrations in themselves and the overall treatment of the texts, it also gives prominence to the printed book as a kind of modern manuscript where the image and the written word harmoniously blend to be reshaped into an artwork as a whole. The collection in question moreover highlights the plastic values of Theophilos’s art and reminds us that, owing to the modernist look of the artists and intellectuals active in 20th-century France and Greece, and that of publisher, art critic, and collector Tériade, the folk tradition of our country was reappraised and thus preserved.”
The exhibition presents paintings by folk painter Theophilos, as well as original etchings by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall, Fernand Léger, Joan Mirό, Le Corbusier, Alberto Giacometti, Georges Rouault, Henri Laurens, Juan Gris, Marcel Gromaire and André Beaudin from the 23 “Artists’ Books.” These works were either created in combination to the texts written in the artists’ hand, or inspired by the works of Theocritus, Lucian of Samosata, Longus, William Shakespeare, Charles d’Orléans, Marianna Alcaforado, Jean de La Fontaine, Gérard de Nerval, Aloysius Bertrand, Georges Duthuit and Pierre Reverdy. Finally, true-to-original reproductions of the luxury quarterly issues of “Verve” are also displayed, notably micrographs of medieval illuminated manuscripts.
The exhibition is realized with the kind support of the French Consulate of Chania and of the Greek-French Association of Chania.
Curation: Manolis Karterakis, Art Historian-Curator
Μarc Chagall, colour lithograph from the book Circus (Cirque), Paris, Verve eds., 1967 [Museum-Library of Stratis Eleftheriadis-Tériade]
Le Corbusier, colour lithograph from the book The Poem of the Right Angle (Poème de l’angle droit), Paris, Verve eds., 1955 [Museum-Library of Stratis Eleftheriadis-Tériade]
Joan Mirό, colour lithograph from the book Childhood of Ubu (L’Enfance d’Ubu), Paris, Verve eds., 1967 [Museum-Library of Stratis Eleftheriadis-Tériade]
Theophilos, oil on canvas, The Reading of Homer [I anagnosi tou Omirou], 1930 [Museum-Library of Stratis Eleftheriadis-Tériade]