Krokeai, 1914 - 2010

Nassos Daphnis

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Nassos Daphnis was a Greek-born American painter and sculptor recognized for his mastery of geometric abstraction and his evolution into what became known as hard-edge painting. In the late 1950s, Daphnis developed his color-plane theory to liberate color from the restriction of form. In doing so, he used multiple planes of solid color to create the illusion of depth, space, and movement amid smooth, uninterrupted surface textures. The interplay of Daphnis’ carefully chosen palette and dynamic shapes results in a vibrating, tension-ridden energy that allows color to be the primary element of the work, unconstrained by line or form. Critical reception of his exhibitions, including a breakthrough solo show with Leo Castelli in 1959, praised Daphnis as being both of the moment and ahead of the next; he remained outside...

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Biography

Nassos Daphnis was a Greek-born American painter and sculptor recognized for his mastery of geometric abstraction and his evolution into what became known as hard-edge painting. In the late 1950s, Daphnis developed his color-plane theory to liberate color from the restriction of form. In doing so, he used multiple planes of solid color to create the illusion of depth, space, and movement amid smooth, uninterrupted surface textures. The interplay of Daphnis’ carefully chosen palette and dynamic shapes results in a vibrating, tension-ridden energy that allows color to be the primary element of the work, unconstrained by line or form. Critical reception of his exhibitions, including a breakthrough solo show with Leo Castelli in 1959, praised Daphnis as being both of the moment and ahead of the next; he remained outside recognized schools and moved fluidly among emerging styles.

Daphnis’ work was represented by long-time friend and iconic dealer Leo Castelli for over thirty years. Major institutional exhibitions include six editions of the Whitney Annual (1959–67), 64th Annual American Exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago (1961) and Geometric Abstraction in America at the Whitney Museum of American Art (1962). In 1977 he received the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship and was later the recipient of the Francis J. Greenburger Foundation Award (1986) and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award (1986). His work is included in the Guggenheim Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Baltimore Museum, Baltimore, MD; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; and Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, Greece.

“The important thing for me was to place the color in its proper plane, which I feel is the only way that a color can exist.” - Oral history interview with Nassos Daphnis, 1964 Sept. 6, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Artworks

17

H-8-83, 1983

RELATED CATEGORIES

Abstract Painting / Color Field Abstract / Color Field Painting / Enamel on Canvas / Enamel Painting / Geometric Abstraction / Geometrical Expression / Greece / Illusion of Depth / Movement / Painting / Primary Colors / Sculpture / Space

CURRICULUM VITAE

Education

  • 1952

    Institute Statale Dell’Arte, Florence, Italy

  • 1949

    Art Students League, New York

Solo Exhibitions

  • 2018

    Transmitting Waves, Richard Taittinger Gallery, New York

  • 2015

    Pixel Fields, Richard Taittinger Gallery, New York (cat.)

  • 2011

    Nassos Daphnis: An Exhibition in Memory of His Legacy, Daphnis Studio, New York

Group Exhibitions

  • 2017

    1959-1963 American Pioneers of Castelli Gallery: A Tribute to Nassos Daphnis, The Armory Show, New York

  • 1959-1963 American Pioneers of Castelli Gallery: A Tribute to Nassos Daphnis, Richard Taittinger Gallery, New York

  • 2016

    Ballet Mécanique, Richard Taittinger Gallery, New York

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Curriculum Vitae

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Education

  • 1952

    Institute Statale Dell’Arte, Florence, Italy

  • 1949

    Art Students League, New York

Solo Exhibitions

  • 2018

    Transmitting Waves, Richard Taittinger Gallery, New York

  • 2015

    Pixel Fields, Richard Taittinger Gallery, New York (cat.)

  • 2011

    Nassos Daphnis: An Exhibition in Memory of His Legacy, Daphnis Studio, New York

  • 2004

    Nassos Daphnis, Astrolavos Artlife, Athens

  • 2003

    Nassos Daphnis: PX-1969 Paintings, Eaton Fine Art, West Palm Beach, FL

Group Exhibitions

  • 2017

    1959-1963 American Pioneers of Castelli Gallery: A Tribute to Nassos Daphnis, The Armory Show, New York

  • 1959-1963 American Pioneers of Castelli Gallery: A Tribute to Nassos Daphnis, Richard Taittinger Gallery, New York

  • 2016

    Ballet Mécanique, Richard Taittinger Gallery, New York

  • 2014

    The Hard Line, Seymour Boardman, Illya Bolotowsky, Nassos Daphnis, Kendall Shaw, Anita Shapolsky Gallery, New York

  • Couples/Duos, Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Provincetown, MA

  • 2013

    Plans for a Summer, Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Center, Athens

  • 2012

    Beauty, Life, and Spirit: A Celebration of Greek Culture, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY

  • 2011

    50’s & 60’s Prices?, Anita Shapolsky Gallery, New York

  • 2009

    Paper Proposes Pleasure & Sculptors, Anita Shapolsky Gallery, New York

  • 2008

    Masters of Abstraction, Anita Shapolsky Gallery, New York

  • 2007

    Ithaca Regained, Kouros Gallery, New York

  • Art in Embassies, Embassy of the United States, Nassau, Bahamas

  • Art Fair, Anita Shapolsky Gallery at RED DOT, New York

  • 2006

    Paper Works by Abstract Masters, Anita Shapolsky Gallery, New York

  • Summer Sculpture: A Changing Exhibition, Eaton Fine Art, West Palm Beach, FL

  • Nassos DAPHNIS & Ernest BRIGGS: OPPOSING FORCES, Anita Shapolsky Gallery, New York

  • 2004

    New York School Artists: Works of the 50’s and 60’s, Anita Shapolsky Gallery, New York

  • Group Exhibition, Astrolavos Gallery, Athens

  • 2003

    Re-Examining Abstract Art: Part 2, Anita Shapolsky Gallery, New York

  • 2002

    Perspectives II: Five Decades of Seminal Work, Kouros Gallery, New York

Collections

  • Akron Art Museum, Akron, OH

  • Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY Baltimore Museum, Baltimore, MD Boca Raton Museum of Art

  • Brooklyn Museum, New York

  • Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA

  • Empire State Plaza Art Collection Guggenheim Museum, New York

  • Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC Jewish Museum of Florida

  • Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, Greece The Metropolitan Museum of Art

  • Museum of Modern Art, New York

  • Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Provincetown, MA Reading Public Museum, Reading, PA

  • RISD Museum of Art, Providence, RI Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA

  • University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, MI Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City, UT

  • Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN

  • Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Bibliography

  • Nassos Daphnis Work Since 1951. Buffalo, NY: Albright-Knox Gallery, 1969; Syracuse: NY: Everson Museum of Art, 1969.

  • ARGAN, Giulio carlo. Nassos Daphnis. Milan: Galleria Toninelli Arte Moderna, 1961.

  • ASHTON, Dore, Sania Papa. Nassos Daphnis. Athens: Contemporary Art Center, 1991.

  • BOURGEOIS, Stephan. Nassos Daphnis. New York: Contemporary Arts, 1938.

  • CHEVALIER, Denys. Nassos Daphnis. Paris: Galerie Colette Allendy, 1950.

  • FRANCIS, Emily A. Nassos Daphnis. New York: Contemporary Arts, 1949.

  • GRUEN, John. Nassos Daphnis Biomorphic Paintings, 1947–1948. New York: Kouros Gallery, 1985.

  • KINGSLEY, April. Works of the 1950’s. New York: Leo Castelli Gallery, 1980.

  • MURDOCK, Robert M. Thirty Years with Leo Castelli

  • ORAV, Erik. Biomorphic Watercolors of the 1947-48. New York: Sid Deutsch Gallery, 1991.

  • TANNENBAUM, Judith. Nassos Daphnis. New York: Andre Zarre Gallery, 1976.

  • WASHBURN, Gordon. Nassos Daphnis. New York: Contemporary Arts, 1947.