Historical note on the building housing the Municipal Art Gallery
In December 1986 the Municipal Art Gallery of Thessaloniki moved into
its new quarters in a building located at 162 Queen Olga Street, at the corner
of 25th of St. Built in 1905 by architect Xenophon Paionidis, and now the property
of the Municipality, it is fine example of the eclectic style of architecture
that flourished in Thessaloniki, especially in the then suburban district known
as "the Towers" or "the Villas", at the turn of the century.
The older residents of the city know it as the "Villa Mordoch", from
the name of the family who occupied it from 1930 - 1940. The building is distinctive
for its rich mixture of elements drawn from the Neo-classical, Renaissance, Baroque
and Art Nouveau styles, and which vary from one facade to the next, thus accentuating
the pluralism of the structure. Also of interest is the decorative paintwork of
the interior - well preserved in certain rooms - as well as the woodcarving. History of the Foundation and Operation of the Municipal Art Gallery
1966: Founded as a department of the Municipal Library and under its jurisdiction,
the Municipal Art Gallery was allotted two rooms in the YMCA building. Its initial
collection was selected from the most important of the works of art belonging
to the Municipality, which were either gifts or purchases made chiefly in the
1950’ s. 1974: The Municipal Art Gallery was granted the status in the Municipal
Organization under a joint Directorate administering the Library, the Art Gallery
and the Philharmonic, and a Curator was appointed.
1977-80: A collection of Greek engravings was assembled and exhibited in various
local venues, including the Polytechnic School of the Aristotle University of
Thessaloniki, the French Institute, the Railway Station, the Chamber of Commerce,
as well as in the neighbouring municipalities of Kalamaria, Sykies and Ambelokipi.
1978: This year saw the initial organization of the Archives of the Gallery; however,
damage resulting from the severe earthquake of that year forced it to close down.
1982: The Gallery was reopened in its original premises
1985: The collection was enriched by purchase of a large number of paintings by
artists from Thessaloniki. This both established a basic collection and determined
its nature, favouring the creations of artists - of all tendencies - from Thessaloniki
and all over Northern Greece; it covered the work of three generations of artists.
1986: The Gallery was rehoused in the newly renovated Villa Mordoch (owned by
the Municipality) at the corner of Queen Olga and 25th of March Streets, where
it occupied (principally) the second floor (...). Collection of Thessalonian Artists
The works of the Thessalonian artists constitutes, from the point of view
of both quantity and quality, the most important collection in the Municipal Art
Gallery. When it was officially founded in 1966, there was already a small nucleus
of works, which they grew over the years, often unsystematically.
The collection of the Gallery includes three generations of artists, who
from the beginning of the century until 1967, contributed to the formulation of
the local fine arts world, through their multi - dimensional works (...). The Icon Collection
The collection of the Byzantine and post - Byzantine icons belonging
to Thcssaloniki’s Municipal Arr Gallery goes some way towards filling an enormous
gap in the city with the respect to the icons produced by the Thessalonlan wokshops,
both in the Byzantine period and in the Turkish period which followed and essentially
The Art Gallery's icons reflect the course of Byzantine painting from
the early fourteenth century, a brilliant era in Byzantine art, to the nineteenth
century, with its wide variety of artistic trends.
In 1987, the Municipal Revenue Board, on behalf of the Department of Cemeteries,
division 2 "Evangelistria", gave to the Municipal Art Gallery sixty-three
icons, which now form part of the Gallery's collection, to be stored, inventoried,
studied and incorporated into its collection. A year later, under the supervision
of the Ninth Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities, started the restoration of the
icons, at the Municipality's expense. Dr. A. Tourta, archaeologist in the Ephorate,
has conducted a scientific appraisal of the material and compiled the cataloque
of the collection. Collection of Engravings
Already familiar to the Greek people from religious publications, illustrated
newspapers and magazines, and the popular prints of the 19th century, engraving
was established as an art in its own right in the early years of this century,
mainly by the work of two of its outstanding practitioners, Dimitris Galanis and
Yannis Kefallinos (...).
The Municipal Art Gallery's collection of engravings covers the development of
this art form over a period of sixty years, giving the viewer a satisfactory picture
of its evolution... Representatieve Collection of Works Illustrating the evolution of
Modern Greek Art This interesting but limited collection includes works
by: G. Iakovidis, E. Thomopoulos, S. Papaloukas, G. Steris, N. Engonopouios, G.
Bouzianis, S. Vasiliou, A. Asteriadis, V. Tsouchlos, G. Vakalo, T. Marthas, G.
Spyropoulos, N. Hatzikyriakos-Ghikas, M. Tombros, K. Messare, D. Yannoukakis,
Th. Diplarakou, N. Antonakatou, D. Bouki, V Skiada, F. Spyratou-Floka, G. Vakirtzis,
A. Pappa, N. Santorinaios, M. Bostanzoglou, Th. Minopoulos, G. Sikeliotis, A.
Geralis, A. Vasilikiotis, S. Karavouzis, G. Parmakelis, R. Whitlock and A. Yannoutsos.