Short biography of the Painter and Poet (1907-1985)

21 October
Birth of N.E. in Athens, second son of Panayotis and Errietti.

Trip to Constantinople, where the family is obliged to settle following the outbreak of the War.

N.E. is enrolled as a boarder in a lycee in Paris. He spends his vacations at the home of his uncle, Dr Liabeis.

1927 (November) - 1928 (July)
He is called up for military service as a private in the 1st Infantry Regiment.

He works as a translator in a Bank and as a secretary at the University. At the same time, he attends night-school in Athens in order to obtain the Greek School-Leaving Certificate.

1930 (October) - 1933 (March)
He is employed on a daily basis as a designer in the Urban Planning Department of the Ministry of Public Works.

He enrols in the School of Fine Arts and studies under Konstantinos Parthenis. He also studies at the studio of Fotis Kontoglou, where Yannis Tsarouchis had begun his studies a year earlier. The two students assist Kontoglou with the wall-paintings in his house.

"Engonopoulos the Phanariot", portrait "by the hand of Fotios Kontoglou" (egg on wood 25.5 x 20 cm., R. Kopsidis Collection).

He is appointed on a daily basis as an employee in the Topographical Service at the Ministry of Public Works. He is given tenure exactly six years later (Designer 1st Grade).

His father dies in Constantinople.

[The "academicians and Art"] reply to a survey carried out by the journal Neoelliniki Logotechnia (vol. 3). For the first time, N.E. presents his works, temperas on paper depicting old houses from towns in W. Macedonia at the exhibition "Art of the Modern Greek Tradition", organised by the "Greek Popular Art" Association in the Stratigopoulou Exhibition Hall. He also assists with the models of the stately houses constructed by D. Pikionis and funded by the Ministry of Tourism.

He translates poems by Tristan Tzara and publishes them in the volume Sur(r)ealism I . [The same poems were re-published in Tristan Tzara, Surrealism and Post-war, Ypsilon/Books, 1979]. He finishes his studies (receiving his diploma many years later, in January 1956). He publishes three poems – “There”, “The Secret Poet”, “Nocturnal Maria” – in the journal O Kyklos (vol. 4), edited by Apostolos Melachrinos.

He publishes his first collection of poetry: Do Not Distract the Driver. He designs the sets and the costumes for Plautus' Menaechmi (directed by G. Sarandidis at the Kotopouli Theatre).

Publication of Apollonius by Apostolos Melachrinou with pictures by the painter Nikos Engonopoulos (Athens: “Kyklos” 1938).

Publication of his second collection: The Clavicembalos of Silence, Athens: "Hippalektryon" 1939, 98p).

His first individual exhibition at the home of Nikos Kalamaris (Kriezotou and Eleftheriou Venizelou Street). Publication of the album Greek Fashion with cover and sketches by Nikos Engonopoulos. He fashions a medal for the Ministry of Press and Tourism. He designs the sets and costumes for Sophocles' Electra (directed by Karolos Koun at the Kotopouli Theatre). He participates in a group exhibition of Greek artists in New York.

He is called up to the Albanian Front.

He participates in the "Professional" Painting Exhibition at the Zappeion Megaron. This is also repeated the following year (1943). The “Greek Folk Art” Society enlists the architects N. Aryropoulos and A. Papayeoryiou together with N.E. to sketch old Athenian houses. He writes Bolivar, a Greek Poem. The poem initially circulated in manuscript form and was read at gatherings expressing resistance to the Nazi Occupation.

He publishes “Seven Poems” in the journal Ta Nea Grammata (no.7, vol 2).

Bolivar, a Greek Poem is published.

He publishes three poems in the magazine Tetradio (vol. 1).

He is seconded from the Ministry of Public Works to the National Technical University of Athens as an assistant lecturer in the Department of Architectural Design and Drawing, headed by D. Pikionis. He would remain in this post as a result of continual renewals of the secondment until 1956. He designs the sets and costumes for Nikos Kazantzakis' play Capodistria (directed by Socrates Karantinos at the National Theatre).

He publishes seven poems from Return of the Birds in the journal Ta Nea Grammata (7, vol. 5-6).

He writes the poem “Picasso the Poet” and the accompanying article (containing translations of poems by Picasso) for the journal Tetradio (vol. 2). He designs the sets and costumes for Nikos Kazantzakis’ play Capodistria (directed by Socrates Karantinos at the National Theatre).

Publication of the journal Tetradio (vol. 3) with the cover designed by N.E. and containing the text by Andreas Embirikos "Nikos Engonopoulos or the Miracle of Elbassan and the Bosporus".

The publication of his collection, The Return of the Birds (Athens: "Ikaros" 1946).

A text by him is included in the special issue of the journal O Kyklos “devoted to the poet Apostolos Melachrinos for the 40 years since his Variations”.

Publication of his collection, Eleusis (Athens: "Ikaros" 1948).
Paintings by N.E. of Kastoria ("The Picheos Residence") and of Zagora ("The School of Rigas") are published in albums in the series "Gallery of the Art of the Greek People".
"Architecture of secular monuments”. Vol. I. "Mansions of Kastoria" (Athens, 1948), and Vol. II, "Houses of Zagora in Pelion" (Athens 1949), published by the “Greek Folk Art” Society.

He participates in the Pan-Hellenic Exhibition at the Zappeion Megaron (and again in 1952, 1957, 1963, 1965, 1971, 1973 and 1975). He becomes a founding member of the art group "Armos", which has as its aim to promote a modern aesthetic movement in Greece (the members include Nikos Hatzikyriakos-Ghikas, Yannis Tsarouchis, Yannis Moralis, Nikos Nikolaou, Natalia Mela, Panayotis Tetsis and Yorgos Mavroidis). With the "Armos" group, he exhibits works in the same year, in 1950 (Athens and Thessaloniki) and in 1952. His paintings are also exhibited at the Greek pavilion in the International Exhibition in New York.

He works at the Ministry of Housing and Reconstruction with a group of architects led by D. Pikionis on the design of new buildings in districts that had been destroyed (Piraeus etc).
He designs the model for the Pan-Hellenic Folk Manufacture and Handicraft Fair.

Marriage to Nelly Andrikopoulou.

He participates in a group exhibition of Stage Scenery in Oslo (and in those organised by the International Theatre Institute in Athens in 1957 and 1962, and in the one organised by the French Institute of Athens in December 1959). He also participates in the exhibition organised by the International Association of Architects in Athens (and again in 1954). Birth of his son Panos.

He designs the scenery and costumes for Goldoni's The Good-hearted Grumbler (directed by Socrates Karantinos at the National Theatre). He assists in the painting of the frescoes in the church of St Spyridon in New York (undertaken by Fotis Kontoglou). N.E. does the images for the Twelve Days and the screen.

He participates in a group exhibition of Greek painters in Rome and Ottawa (the exhibition moved on to Edmonton, Toronto and Vancouver in 1954 and Sao Paulo in 1955).

He publishes his poem, "The Atlantic", in the journal Anglo-Elliniki Epitheorisi (Vol. 6, no. 3) together with an oil-painting [Jason].

Offprint: The Atlantic, Athens 1954.

He represents Greece in the 27th International Biennale in Venice with 72 of his works [Catalogue La Biennale di Venezia (XXVII), Grecia, Nicos Engonopoulos, “Lombroso”, Venezia, with an introduction by U. Paluchini and a text by D.E. Evanghelides. Advertising sketch for the magazine O Tachydromos.
He divorces his wife, Nelly Andrikopoulou.

“Points of contact between Modern Art and the ideal of Greek Art”]. Reply to research by the journal Zygos (vol. 7).

He is elected to the National Technical University of Athens as a tenured lecturer (proposed by D. Pikionis and N. Hatzikyriakos-Ghikas) and is appointed to the Department of Architectural Design and Drawing. He resigns from the Ministry of Public Works.

Publication of his collection, In the Flourishing Greek Tongue (Athens: "Ikaros", 1957).

He is appointed as a lecturer to the Department of General History of Art. He participates in a group exhibition of painting in Thessaloniki (and again in 1966 and 1973). He designs the scenery and costumes for Girl, Aspects of a Woman, Medea and Ring and Trumpet for Rallou Manou's "Greek Ballet".

Design for the brochure of the National Tourist Organisation of Greece: Aigina. The village hotel.

He is awarded the First Prize for Poetry by the Ministry of National Education for his collection, In the Flourishing Greek Tongue.

He participates in the group exhibition organised by "Zygos". He designs the scenery and costumes for Euripides' Ion and Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound (di-rected by Linos Karzis for the "Themelikos Theatre Company").

Second marriage to Eleni Tsiokou.

He is appointed as a lecturer to the Modelling Workshop (directed by Professor K. Biris).

Journey to Switzerland, Germany and Austria.

Birth of his daughter Errietti.

A text on Futurism in the journal Zygos (vols. 68-69).
“The Architecture of Athens Today” in the magazine Techniki Epitheorisis (vol. 5). Two texts: “The Ballet” and [“The Transfer of Greek Costumes onto the Stage”] in the volume Greek Ballet.

The poem "The Image" in the journal Pnevmatiki Kypros. June
"On the single Cultural Centre", reply in the journal Zygos (vols. 78-79).
He designs the scenery and costumes for Brecht's The Threepenny Opera (directed by N. Hatziskos), for Shaw's Caesar and Cleopatra (directed by Alexis Solomos) and for Moliere's Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme (directed by Socrates Karantinos for the State Theatre of Northern Greece).

Second edition with notes and eight colour pictures of Bolivar, a Greek Poem (Athens: "Ikaros").

Individual exhibition of painting at the Athens Technological Institute. His talk at the Official Opening was entitled: "A Few Things Concerning the Birth of my Work".
His text, “A Few Things Concerning the Miracle of Cretan Theatre”, is published in the journal Theatro (vol. 7).

His talk at the exhibition of his painting at the Athens Technological Institue was subsequently published under the title "Lecture" in the journal Epitheorisi Technis (vol. 17, no. 99) and as an offprint "with 5 illustrations within the text and 1 colour illustration outside the text.
His mother dies in Athens.

He participates in the Commemorative Exhibition for G. Bouzianis and D. Evanghelidis.

He resigns from the National Technical University.
His text, “Two forms of a painting and three poems on the death of three poets”, is published in the journal Pali (vols. 2-3).
He designs the scenery and costumes for Euripides' Hippolytus (directed by Socrates Karantinos for the State Theatre of Northern Greece). He participates in a group exhibition of Greek painters in Brussels.

Release of the record Engonopoulos Reads Engonopoulos on the "Dionysos" label.

He designs the scenery and costumes for Aristophanes' Lysistrata (directed by Socrates Karandinos for the State Theatre of Northern Greece).

His statement "Concerning Democracy" is published in the special issue of the journal Epitheorisi Technis.

For his work as a painter, he is awarded the Order of the Gold Cross of George I.

"On Angelos Sikelianos" published in the newspaper Ta Nea (22/6).

Second edition of Do Not Distract the Driver and The Cla-vicembalos of Silence in one volume with notes and biographical information.

He publishes nine poems and two pictures in the journal Pali (vol. 6).

He is elected Associate Professor at the National Technical University in the Department of Drawing.

His views on "The Parthenis Affair" published in the newspaper Ethnos (28/5).

He publishes "Short Biography of the Poet Constantine Cavafy" and "Essai sur l'inegalite des races humaines" in the journal Lotos (vol. 3).
Release of the record Bolivar, a Greek Poem on the Lyra label, in the form of a popular cantata, with music composed by Nikos Mamangakis and vocals by Yorgos Zographos.

He publishes the poem "Of the Holy Jews" in the journal Philologiki Protochronia.

He is elected Professor at the National Technical University in the Department of Drawing and commissioned Professor in the Department of General History of Art.

He publishes the poem "Man Cannot Serve Two Masters" in the journal Lotos (vols. 4-5).

A text on the Karaghiozis Shadow Puppet Theatre in the journal Lotos (vol. 6).


He participates in the exhibition "Modern Greek Art on the 1821 War of Inde-pendence. Painting - Sculpture - Engraving" at the Greek Chamber of Art.

He published the poem "The Balad of Isidore-Sideri Steikovic" in the journal Prosanatolismi (vol. 7, Larissa).

Publication of his article "The Sculptor Theodoros Vassileiou" in the newspaper To Vima (28/11).

He is awarded the Cross of the Commander of the Phoenix.

Publication by the National Technical University of Athens Press of the album Hellenic Houses, containing 18 colour paintings [“Psychographs of Houses” as they had once been characterised by D. Pikionis].
His poems “The Flag” and “A Dream: Life” are accepted for volume 6 of the journal Tram, which, however, ceases publication in June.

Having reached the compulsory age for retirement, he resigns from the National Technical University. In 1976, he is named Professor Emeritus. “The Goalposts”, “Pandora’s Box” and “The Flag” are printed in the volume Chroniko ’73 (published by the art-gallery “Ora”).

His poem "The Bugle-horn" is published in the journal Efthini (vol. 25).

A text by him on Cobblers is published in the journal Zygos (vol. 12).

His views "Concerning Dionysios Solomos" are published in the journal Ydria (vol. 16).
Three poems “Orpheus” (together with the painting of the same name), “A Dream: Life” and “Associations” are published in the magazine Speira (vol. 3) and as an offprint. His text “On Kontoglou” is published in the collective volume In Memory of F. Kontoglou (Athens: Astir).

“On Everything Under the Sun”, “On Hamadryads” and “Beroutian” are published in the anthology Poetry ’75, edited by Th.Th. Niarchos and A. Fostieris.

The poems “On Crocodile Kladas” and “Vitzentzos Kornaros” are published in the journal I Nea Poiesi (vol. 7).
Publication in Paris of Bolivar, un poeme grec, translated by Franchita Gonzalez Batlle, bilingual edition "Voix Francois Maspero".

“Andreas Embiricos”, a text in the special issue of the journal Iridanos (vol.4). Text “On Markos Avgeris” in the “Special Issue” of “Kedros” Press.

Exhibition of his paintings at the Moraitis School's Society for the Study of Modern Greek Culture and General Education.
The poems “Readjustment” and “The Surprise”, together with a picture, are published in the journal Tram (2nd series, vol. 3).

"Ikaros" publishes the second volume of his Poems, containing the collections: "Bolivar", "The Return of the Birds", "Eleusis", "The Atlantic", "In the Flourishing Greek Tongue".

“Dioni”, “A Somewhat Elderly Brave General” are published in the anthology Poetry ’77, edited by Th.Th. Niarchos and A. Fostieris.

"On Fotis Kontoglou", text published in the journal Zygos (vol. 31).

Publication of his collection, In the Vale of Roseries (With 20 Colour Paintings and One Sketch).

For the second time, he is awarded the State Prize for Poetry.
His text “Herakleio, Crete and the 3rd Christian Girls’ School” is published in the book Elli Alexiou. A Small Dedication (Athens: Kastaniotis).

His essay, Karaghiozis. Greek Shadow Theatre, is published by Ypsilon/Books.

“The Betrothed”, poem published in the journal I lexi (vol. 1) (special feature on Nikos Engonopoulos with an interview, sketches and a text by K. Yeorgousopoulos).

Retrospective exhibition of his work with 105 paintings at the National Gallery / Alexandros Soutsos Museum.

His text “Cavafy, Simply Perfect” is published in the special issue on Cavafy of the journal I lexi (vol. 23).

His poem “The Carnations” is published in the journal I lexi (vols. 29-30).
Bolivar. Un poema Griego, translated by Miguel Castillo Didier, is published by Juventud Griega de Venezuela and Editorial Arcadia in Caracas.

Individual exhibition of water-colours, sketches and temperas in the "Zoumboulaki" Art Gallery.

Niki Loizidi, "Surrealism in Modern Greek Art. The Case of Nikos Engonopoulos", Nefeli Press.

31 October
N.E. dies of a heart attack. He is buried in the First Cemetery of Athens at public expense.


Individual exhibition "Nikos Engonopoulos. Painting 1975-1985" at the "Gallery 3" Art Gallery, Athens.

Individual exhibition of engravings at the "Aigina" Art Gallery, Aigina.

Ypsilon/Books publishes his Prose Texts (With Two Colour Paintings). The French Institute of Athens stages the exhibition "Nikos Engono-poulos, Painter and Poet. Oils, Temperas and Books from Private Collections".

Special double issue of the Literary Journal Hartis is devoted to N.E.

His works are included in the exhibition entitled "Surrealistes Grecs" at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.

Publication of N.E.'s Letters to Lena 1959-1967, …And I Love You Passionately (with fifteen colour paintings).

Works by Engonopoulos are included in the exhibition "The Mas-ters", "Skoufa" Gallery, Athens. Conference at the Goulandris-Horn Foundation on the topic "Nikos Engonopoulos. The Beauty of a Greek. 50th Anniversary of the First Edition of Bolivar".

His works are included in an exhibition entitled "Surrealism. The Greek Dimension" at the "Titanium" Gallery, Athens. Individual exhibition entitled "10 Years Since the Death of Nikos Engonopoulos" at the "Skoufa 4" Gallery, Athens.

Publication of the volume: Nikos Engonopoulos: The Beauty of a Greek (Nine Studies), Goulandris-Horn Foundation.

Elli Philokyproy, "Words and Stories from the Village of Bicycles. Narrative Forms in the First Two Collections of Nikos Engonopoulos", Diavlos.

Republication in a new format of Hellenic Houses by the National Technical University of Athens Press.

Publication of Sketches and Colours in a bilingual edition in conjunction with an individual exhibition of sketches, bozzetti and oils and at the "Zoumboulaki" Art Gallery, Athens.

A retrospective exhibition of his work at the Municipal Gallery, Thessaloniki as part of the events organised for "Thessaloniki. Cultural Capital of Europe".

A special issue of "Epta Imeres" (Sunday Supplement of the newspaper Kathimerini) entitled "Nikos Engonopoulos. Painter and Poet" is de-voted to his work.

His work is included in the exhibition entitled "Greek Painters and Ancient Greek Drama: Scenery Variations" at the European Cultural Centre of Delphi, Delphi.

A special issue of the literary magazine Diavazo is devoted to his work.

His works are included in the exhibition "The Portraits from Faiyum and the Generation of the '30s in the search for Greekness" at the Benaki Museum, Athens.

His works are included in the exhibition "Great Painters in Small Paintings" at the "Zita-Mi" Gallery, Thessaloniki. Individual exhibition of his works entitled "Nikos Engonopoulos. Mythology, Byzantium, Revolution" at the "Astrolavos" Gallery, Athens.

His Poems I and Poems II are re-published in one volume.
Publication of the book: The Angels in Paradise Speak Greek… Interviews, Comments and Opinions, Yorgos Kentrotis (ed.), Ypsilon/Books.
A. Koumbis, Table of Words in the Poems of Nikos Engonopoulos, University Press of Crete.

Publication of the album: Nikos Engonopoulos the Byzantine. Forty-one Egg Temperas / Eight Sketches / Twenty Poems / and One Ink on Paper.

Nelly Andrikopoulou, On the Trail of Nikos Engonopoulos, Potamos Press.

"The Secret Poet Nikos Engonopoulos", ERT Eras and Authors. Documentary Series by Tassos Psarras.

Special Issue of the literary journal i lexi, no. 179.

“The garden with the Countless Windows – Nikos Engonopoulos”, Greek TV programme “Paraskinio”.

Publication of The Measure: Man. Five Poems and Ten Paintings, Ypsilon/Books [containing three previously unpublished poems and paintings from private collections]. Eleftherotypia/Vivliothiki, 12 August 2005 “Nikos Engonopoulos, Hellenocentric and Ecumenical”.

D. Vlachodemos,Reading the Past in Nikos Engonopoulos, Indiktos Press.

On the occasion of the centenary of his birth, 2007 is proclaimed as the "Engonopoulos Year" by the National Book Center, with the support of the Ministry of Culture.

An anthology of his poetry and art, together with critiques entitled "The Poet Nikos Engonopoulos, Diary 2007", and an album: Nikos Engonopoulos, Mythology, are published by Ypsilon/Books.

The National Book Centre of Greece publishes the album "Nikos Engonopoulos - Centenary of hos Birth: “Love is the only way…” (edited by Frangiski Ambatzopoulou).

February - April
Exhibition “Engonopoulos 2007… the beauty of a Greek” at Athens International Airport.

Show dedicated to his work is performed at the Athens Music Megaro directed by Yannis Kakleas with texts selected by Nassos Vayenas in a co-production by the National Book Centre of Greece and the Athens Music Megaro.

March - April
As part of the campaign for International Poetry Day 2007, posters designed by students at the Athens School of Fine Arts based on Engonopoulos’ verses are carried by Athens public transport.
Publication of a catalogue of his complete works by the National Book Centre of Greece and the Athens School of Fine Arts.

May - June
Exhibition “Topos: Engonopoulos” (curated by Denis Zacharopoulos) at the Macedonian Museum of Modern Art, Thessaloniki co-organised by the National Book Centre of Greece and the Macedonian Museum of Modern Art.

Special Issue of the journal Nea Estia (vol.1804).

International Conference “Engonopoulos 2007: Poet and Painter” with 35 scholars from Greece and abroad at the Benaki Museum, Athens, co-organised by the National Book Centre of Greece and the Benaki Museum.
Publication by Ypsilon/Books of “Oraios san Ellinas, Poems/The Beauty of a Greek, Poems, Selected and Translated by David Connolly.
Publication by Ikaros Press of “Nikos Engonopoulos, The Drawing or the Colour: Stage-sets and Costumes for the Theatre, edited by Maria Gyparaki.

November – January 2008
Retrospective exhibition "Nikos Engonopoulos: I am a Painter and Poet" organized by the Benaki Museum, Athens with roughly 250 representative works from the five decades of his work. Responsible for the visual side was Katerina Perpinioti-Agkazir and for the poetic side Thanassis Hatzopoulos. The Exhibition design was by Lili Pezanou.

Introduction to the Poetry of Engonopoulos. Selected Critical Essays (edited by Frangiski Ambatzopoulou), University Press of Crete.

An ABC for Small and Big Children, Poetry by Haris Vlavianos, Edited by Errietti Engonopoulou & Eleni Gerolanou, Metaichmio Press.

Nikos Engonopoulos Painter and Poet. Conference Proceedings 23-24 November 2007. Library of the Benaki Museum.

HYDRA OF THE BIRDS (CD) Poetry: Nikos Engonopoulos – Music: Socos – Vocals: Dimitris Poulikakis.

Olga Tachopoulou, Modernist Primitivism, Nefeli Press.

2012 - 2013
“The Desire for Freedom. Art in Europe since 1945”. Group exhibition or. 2013ganized by the Deutsches Historisches Museum of Berlin in the framework of the 30th Council of Europe (17 October 2012 – 10 February 2013 and then: 15.3 – 2.6,2013 Palazzo Reale, Milan, 28- .6 – 3.11.2013 Kumu Kunstimuuseum, Talin, 18.11.2013 – 26.1.2014 MOCAK, Cracow, 8.2 – 4.5.2014 MMMA Thessaloniki).

Alexis Kyritsopoulos, Fireworks, "A Fairytale Inspired by the Poems of Nikos Engonopoulos", Ikaros - Benaki Museum.

Greek Poets, Nikos Engonopoulos, Ergography – Anthology – Recital. Published by the newspaper “I Kathimerini”.

“Divided Memories 1940-1950. The Gap Between History and Experience”, Macedonian Museum of Modern Art. Group exhibition organized by the Goethe Institute of Thessaloniki, the MMMA, the Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki and the Deutsches Historisches Museum of Berlin (7 December – 26 February 2017. Exhibited are the paintings: “Civil War” and “Au rendez-vous Allemand”).

“Nikos Engonopoulos: With the Colours of Speech and the Speech of Colours” Museum of Modern Art Andros. Vassilis and Elizas Goulandris Foundation. Retrospective Exhibition 25 June – 1 October.

Kostas Voulgaris, "Kolokotronis Splendid Like Bolivar. Nikos Engonopoulos Facing Makrigannism", Vivliorama.

E.Ch. Gonatas, "Two Letters to Nikos Engonopoulos", Stigmi.

April - June
Nikos Engonopoulos, "The Orpheus of Surrealism", Exhibition at the V & M Theoharakis Institute of Visual Arts and Music. Curator Takis Mavrotas.

Nikos Engonopoulos, "Love's Illuminations", Anthologised and Introduced by Thanassis Hatzopoulos, ypsilon/books.


I. Vourtsis

Translated by David Connolly