ATHENS – For those of us lucky enough to visit Athens this year, the Greek capital continues to impress with its beauty and its unique sites. Among the remarkable museums of Athens, the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation Museum of Contemporary Art is a true gem and not to be missed.
Though most visitors think of Athens for its glorious artistic and architectural past, there is a wonderful contemporary art scene in the city and the notable works on view at the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation Museum of Contemporary Art highlight an impressive collection including some of the most famous modern artists of all time. Year-round, visitors to Athens can enjoy works by Monet, Degas, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Picasso, Braque, Kandinsky, Pollock, and Greek artists, such as Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika, Yannis Tsarouchis, Takis (Panayiotis Vassilakis), Chryssa Vardea, Yannis Moralis, Theodoros Stamos, and George Rorris, among others.
The Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation was established in 1979 as a nonprofit organization whose main purpose is the operation of the museums on Andros and now in Athens, as well as the promotion of the visual arts on a national and international level.
The late Basil and Elise Goulandris, known for their passionate love of the arts, inspired and sponsored the effort, envisioning a lively cultural organization on a par with internationally-acclaimed establishments in the field of the visual arts. Painting was the main focus of their interest which connected them to the artistic circles of post-war Paris; they also promoted young Greek artists, helping them to evolve their art and expand their artistic horizons.
Through the Foundation that bears their name, they bequeathed three innovative museum spaces to Andros, Basil’s birthplace; the Museum of Contemporary Art (in 1979), which exhibits works by Greek and foreign artists, the Archaeological Museum (in 1981), whose construction they funded as a bequest to the Greek state, and the New Wing of the Museum of Contemporary Art, where international exhibitions by renowned artists are held every summer since 1986.
Basil and Elise Goulandris’ vision included the creation of another museum in Athens to bring contemporary art to a wider audience. Sadly, they both passed away, Basil on April 27, 1994 and Elise on July 25, 2000, before they could see the opening of the Athens museum. However, they generously bequeathed all the means necessary for their vision to be realized. The Athens museum was completed in 2019, heralding the beginning of a new chapter for the Foundation, whose aim is, along with the Museum on Andros, to promote this new museum as a center for the development of innovative cultural activities in the field of modern and contemporary Greek and international art. Besides housing its impressive Collection, the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation Museum of Contemporary Art also hosts temporary exhibitions, educational programs, and cultural events.
The museum also offers wonderful gifts for all ages in its shop. Those looking for refreshments during their visit can stop by the B&E Goulandris Cafe-Restaurant for delicious items from the menu served in an enchanting setting.
More information about the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation Museum of Contemporary Art is available online: https://goulandris.gr/en/.