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Vasso Katrakis

Biography Note - Exhibits/Distinctions

I was born in Aetolian Messolongi.

It is a small island which is joined to the mainland by two long stone bridges with many small arches. Our home was practically in the sea and it was mainly fishermen who lived in the neighborhood. All day, the streets teemed with the barefoot men, their always pregnant women and their children, pot-bellied from malaria.

My father, Giorgis Leonardos, was a landowner, but mainly he sang and chanted in the church in a beautiful, fine, warm voice. When he sang at our house all types of people would gather to listen to him.

My mother made delicately embroidered cloths of silk, cotton and multi-colored wool. She won a gold metal at an International Exhibit in Paris.

My two brothers were older than us girls. The oldest, who studied philology at the University, brought us a magic world from Athens. Old books with colored engraved prints and wood-block prints, colored pictures and illustrations, paints and brushes; he was continually combing the flea markets in Athens. The younger one was always working with his hands on anything that caught his eye. Both of them painted as well.

All around our small sea was the countryside full of olive trees, fertile fields, melon fields, tobacco fields, wheat. A life on land and sea, full of sweat and toil. It was in these surroundings that I grew up. I read all the kinds of books that my brother and his friends had. I liked to read a lot, especially poetry. And along with my brothers, I also painted.

Secretly I dreamed of becoming a painter, but it seemed such an incredibly lofty idea to me that I could not logically contain it in my brain. About everything I saw, I said to myself: "I can do that". And many times I put myself to the test.

I still did not know that art was something else.
And one day a question suddenly thrust itself into my mind. So why not become a painter? How this happened so suddenly I could not understand. A thousand bells rang in my head and my feet left the ground. From then on, I had nothing else on my mind night and day.

But a thousand and one adversities sprang up. Unexpectedly my father became seriously ill and great bitterness and sorrow befell our home lasting for a full seven years.

And one day, after my father had died, I set off for Athens not knowing exactly what I was going to do. I went to the School of Fine Arts and learned that in a few days they would be having examinations. I immediately signed up at the school. I took the examinations.

At the School of Fine Arts my Professors were Parthenis in Painting and Kefalinos in Engraving. I got my diploma from the school, in 1940 with a three-month scholarship in painting to go around the islands and a prize and two commendations in Engraving. Suddenly came war, occupation, starvation and the resistance, and after that civil war, inconceivable and unjustifiable killing, exile, prison; all the tribulations of our country my generation carried on its back.

I have traveled to numerous European cities and visited many museums and art galleries.

The first exhibition of my work took place in 1955.


1955 Athens
1958 On the Liner "Olympia"
1959 Athens 1961 Salonica
1961 Athens
1964 Peking
1965 Budapest
1972 Athens
1973 Salonica


1947 Cairo- International Exhibition

1947 Exhibition of Modern Greek Art - Stockholm

1950 Exhibition of "Stathmi" group - Athens

1952 Pan-Hellenic Exhibition - Athens

1953 Exhibition of modern Greek Art - Rome

1954 Exhibition of modern Greek engravers (sculptors) - Geneva

1955-1956-1960 Exhibition of Greek Art in Sweden

1956 Participated in every exhibition of the International Union of Wood Engravers "Xylon"

1957 Sao Paolo Bienal

1958 Biennial Exhibition of the Mediterranean countries - Alexandria

1958 Biennial Exhibition of Engravings - Lugano 1958 Exhibition of Greek Engraving in Moscow

1960 Exhibition of Greek Engraving in Leningrad 1960-1962-1964-1966-1968-1970 Tokio

International Biennial Exhibition of Prints 1961-1963-1965-1967-1969-1971-1973-1975-1977 Ljubljana International Exhibition of Graphic Arts

1962 Greek Art Exhibition in Rumania 1962 Greek Art Exhibition in Hungary

1964 Greek Art Exhibition in Buenos Aires

1965 Pan-Hellenic Exhibition - Athens

1966 33rd Venice Biennale

1966 Tokio International Biennial Exhibition of Prints

1967 Represented Greek engraving at the Exhibit of Greek Art in Montreal

1969 Exhibit "L'Accademia Florentina délie Arti

del Disegno" 1976 Exhibit "Intergrafik 76" in East Germany


1958 She received the first prize in engraving at the Mediterranean Biennale in Alexandria

1958 She was a warded the "Premium at the

International Biennale of Engraving in Lugano

1965 She was elected an honorary member of the "L'Accademia Florentina délie Arti

del Disegno"

1966 She received the International Lithography Prize, "The Tamarind"at the Venice Biennale

1976 She received the prize at the "Intergrafik 76" the International Exhibit of Engraving in East Berlin

Her works can be found in many private collections as well as in museums and art galleries.