Averoff Museum: A treasure trove of modern Greek art in Metsovo
Dozens of people milled around the courtyard and foyer of the Evangelos Averoff Museum in Metsovo in northwestern Greece as people of all ages attended the inauguration of “Get to Know Mesolongi Through Art,” an exhibition which runs through December 8 and includes pieces from the private collection of Christos Moschandreou.
Commissioned by the Christos and Sophia Moschandreou Gallery of Modern Art of Mesolongi, the pieces include oil paintings, watercolors, etchings, wood carvings and sculptures by 60 acclaimed Greek artists, including Giorgos Varlamos, Maria Ktistopoulou and Alekos Fassianos. Over a period of around 10 years, the artists were invited by the gallery to spend time in Mesolongi, getting a feel of the historic town and its fascinating landscapes and then translating their experiencing into art. The result of the project is Moschandreou’s collection, which offers a clear and comprehensive approach to the subject, which is Mesolongi itself.
However, it must be said that a visit to the Averoff Museum in Metsovo is worth it for its own permanent collection too. Few people know that it is a treasure trove of modern Greek art, second only to the National Gallery in Athens, with which the museum collaborates on temporary exhibitions as well as in other areas of common interest.
Olga Metzafou, a scientific adviser and curator at the National Gallery, gave us a tour of the collection, showing us how different trends and techniques have emerged and evolved in Greek art, and how they were captured in works by celebrated artists like Nikiforos Lytras, Nikolaos Gyzis, Constantinos Parthenis, Yiannis Moralis, Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika and many others.
The museum was opened in 1988 by politician and art aficionado Evangelos Averoff-Tositsas (or Tossizza) as a home for the collection. Today, it is in the care of his daughter, Tatiana Averoff, who has continued her father’s legacy and enriched the institution’s collection and program of activities. One of these new activities is a children’s workshop aimed at helping shape the next generation of Greek artists.