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The magazine Fragkelio and the building located at 21, Navarchou Nikodimou Street
Venia Pastaka,Art Historian

The importance of the building located at 21, Navarchou Nikodimou Street in the centre of Athens, lies in the fact that it was the place where all the fermentations for the creation of the famous group of the Generation of the ’30’s took place. This was a group of Greek authors, painters, sculptors and architects, who acted in the middle of 20th century and renewed Greek art and literature.

The building itself was the house of the actor Nikos Velmos (1890 – 1930), who was a self-taught artist known for his poignant language towards everyone who was in the authority at his time. In 1926, he published from that building, a revolutionary magazine called Fragkelio. The main purpose of the magazine was to provoke all the politicians who embezzled public property, authors, professors and artists. Velmos in the pages of Fragkelio, also wrote about the upcoming government of Ioannis Metaxas and pointed the dangers that would occur from a dictatorial regime. Apart from the main magazine, Velmos also published a supplement magazine called Art Sheets. The Art Sheets where monographs of Greek and foreign artists such as Shakespeare, Beethoven, El Greco and many others. From 1928 Velmos created on the ground floor of the building an art gallery which he named Art Shelter. In this gallery, artists such as the famous Greek painters Yiannis Tsarouchis and Diamantis Diamantopoulos first exhibited their artworks. The famous Greek sculptor Yiannoulis Chalepas, also exhibited there some drawings for the first time after his exit from asylum psychiatric clinic. Others who exhibited there were the painters Spyros Papaloukas, Polyclitos Regkos and Angelos Theodoropoulos.

The gallery closed in 1938, eight years after the death of Velmos, after an exhibition that caused the discontentment of Metaxas’ government. Until the middle of the ‘60s, where the last sister of Velmos’ lived, the building functioned as a museum dedicated to the memory of Nikos Velmos.

14/05/2014
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F. Kontoglou, Portrait of Nikos Velmos, 1923, (lost)
From left to right: G. Romanos, A. Theodoropoulos, A. Drivas, D. Galanis, I. Erginos, M. Vitsoris, seated: D. Rodokanakis, G. Galanis, on the ground: A. Beis, N. Velmos.
Stratis Doukas, Headline of the magazine Fragkelio with portrait of Velmos
Headline of the magazine Fragkelio
G. Chalepas, cover of the magazine Fragkelio
S. Papaloukas, Cover of one of the Art Sheets dedicated to Shakespeare
P. Regkos, Mount Athos, sketch published at the magazine Fragkelio.
Poster of the exhibition Old Athens, hosted at the Art Shelter in 1929.
N. Chelmis, Holy Olive Tree, one of the sketches of the Old Athens exhibition.