A. G. Leventis Gallery
The main mission of the A. G. L. G. is to display and promote the paintings, works of art, objects, documents, and books of any kind, collected by the founder of the A. G. Leventis Foundation, Anastasios G. Leventis prior to his death in 1978; as well as those pieces of art and artefacts (European, Greek and Cypriot) collected by The A. G. Leventis Foundation after 1978.
In addition, the A. G. L. G.'s mission involves the collection and exhibition of objects, documents, and books of any kind that elucidate the history of man, and history of art, throughout the ages.
As well as this, the A. G. L. G. seeks to promote education, teaching, research, public programmes and publications in any – or all – of the fields above and collects materials for research related to its collections and to the history and appreciation of art in general.
The A. G. L. G. recognizes that the whole aesthetic experience is important to fostering the understanding of works of art. The Gallery therefore promotes cultural and musical programmes that enhance this broader experience, such as concerts and changing horticulture displays.
Mission statement of the Anastasios G. Leventis
Gallery of Cyprus
THE PARIS COLLECTION
When in the early 1950s Anastasios Leventis settled in Paris, one of his main aims was to establish a collection of works of art – mainly paintings – with a view to decorating his home but also to enriching his knowledge of French and, by extension, European art. By that time, through his focus and diligence, he had managed to establish an extremely successful business which now extended beyond its roots in Africa, where he had started out, and was also firmly established in Europe. Despite the lack of information about why he selected particular works or artists, it seems clear that Anastasios Leventis made his choices first and foremost to satisfy his own taste and complement his environment and way of life. These choices were in all aspects impeccable. Paintings, furniture, art objects and even everyday objects were characterised by a grandeur and homogeneity suited to an ambassador and entrepreneur living in the heart of the French capital.
THE ATHENS COLLECTION
Having by now established his business in Greece as well, Anastasios Leventis made frequent visits to Athens, making the acquaintance of the well-known politician Evangelos Averof Tositsas. In 1973, he responded to an invitation from Averof to purchase a large part of his collection of works by Greek painters of the 18th and 19th centuries. The collection contained 207 paintings of the first generation of Greek artists. Many of them were displayed in Anastasios Leventis’ apartment in Herod Atticus Street.
In a foreword to a catalogue of this collection, Evangelos Averof himself stated characteristically: “With Tasso Leventis we twice visited my collection which was then housed at the Tositsas Foundation in Kifisia. He told me repeatedly that he would be happy to purchase part or all of my collection, as he intended to establish a Gallery of Greek Artists in Nicosia, or to use the collection to promote Cyprus in Greece or elsewhere. The idea that my beloved pastime would in one way or another be used to the benefit of Cyprus, for which I had fought for so many years with passion and love, made me even happier about the decision I was about to make. I hastened to meet Tassos Leventis and we made a deal without delay”.
After the death of Anastasios Leventis, Constantinos Leventis - as President of the Foundation - decided to continue building on the Athens collection, with a view to making it an important part of Greek history of art.
THE NICOSIA COLLECTION
The late Constantinos Leventis also took the initiative to establish a third collection, this time with works by Cypriot painters representing the first generation of Cypriot artists from the beginning of the 20th century up to 1960.
This collection is the smallest of the three and has been added to only over the past ten years. It nonetheless contains noteworthy works by Cypriot artists such as Ioannis Kissonergis (1889-1963), Adamantios Diamantis (1900-1994), Giorgos Polyviou Georgiou (1901-1972), Victor Ioannides (1903-1984), Telemachos Kanthos (1910-1993), Christoforos Savva (1924-1968), Michalis Michaelides (1927) and Lefteris Economou (1930-2007).
Each of these artists approached and interpreted his subject matter in his own particular, idiosyncratic way. However, all of them, with the exception of Christoforos Savva, also expressed themselves in an accessible, representational style and focused their subject matter on their experiential relationship with the people and nature of Cyprus, through their own individual and different narratives. Their art was mostly an expression of an act of self-knowledge - an attempt to penetrate and depict the specific characteristics of the natural and human environment of their country.