My uncle was born in São Paulo, Brazil on March 24, 1917 died on October 8, 2008 in Athens, Greece. He had a very successful career that lasted over six decades gaining fame around the world and especially in France and Greece.
His career started in Greece just a couple of years before World War 2 reached Greece and by 1939 he was participating in national competitions of art.
He first tried participating at the Panellinio (Πανελλήνιο) in 1939 but was disqualified. In 1942, he tried again with the same artwork and the judges accused him of cheating as the art was so lifelike. Fortunately, to his defense came three of the major artists of the time in Greece: Memos Makris, John Miliades, and Nikos Nikolaou. The latter becoming his lifelong friend.
What’s also impressive is that he was drafted into the Hellenic Army in 1940, with Italy’s invasion of Greece, and later participated actively in the Greek Resistance while at the same pursuing his art career.
Right after the war, in 1945, he won an art scholarship to go to France. This was to be his country for residence for the next 57 years.
During his long career, he worked with some of the major intellectuals of his time such as Le Corbusier and Picasso. He was also part of Jean-Paul Sartre inner circle in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Sartre wrote about my uncle several times in his periodical Les Temps Modernes, liking him as equal to Picasso, Mondrian and Gastaud. In 1999, he was honored by La Ville-du-Bois, the village where he lived, by having their library named after him.
He returned permanently to Athens in 2002 and in 2004 he founded the “Costas Andreou Foundation”, that is currently being chaired by my brother Arys Andreou.
In his career he won many awards for his work:
- Gran Prix d’Antoine Pevsner, 1998
- Croix de Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur, 2000
- Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, 2005
There is an extensive write up on my uncle on Wikipedia under Constantine Andreou