0140 The Greek Pavilion in the Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne

New Perspectives for National Art in the Context of Regionalism

  • Polina Kosmadaki (Author)
    Benaki Museum, Athens

    Polina Kosmadaki is an art historian and Head Curator of the Department of Painting, Prints and Drawings of the Benaki Museum, Athens as well as a Lecturer of Art in the European Studies program of the Hellenic Open University. She studied Art History and Archaeology in Strasbourg and Paris and holds a Ph.D in Art History from the University of Paris-IV-Sorbonne. Since 2008 she is a researcher and member of the scientific committee in the program undertaken by the Benaki Museum, the French School of Athens and the Institute of Mediterranean Studies regarding the cultural exchanges between France and Greece during the interwar period.

Identifiers (Article)


This paper discusses the impact of the ideological trends of the Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne which took place in Paris, in 1937, on Greece's national participation in the exhibition. The modern artworks it showcased will serve as a case study to investigate notions of regionalism. The paper considers the conception and realisation of the Greek pavilion in association with the Exposition's affirmed focus on regionalism and examines the relation between nationalism and regionalism at that time. The Greek pavilion and its artists will also be discussed in regard to the local ideologies they expressed or contributed to generate. The aim of this paper is to highlight how, on the occasion of the 1937 exhibition, the Greek quest for a new form of national art – an authentic expression of "Greekness" able to overturn the European perception, which identified the "Greek" with the "classical" – converged or diverged from European regionalist and nationalist discourses as expressed by the exhibition's commissioner, as well as to draw attention to the paradoxes of this connection.


Exposition international, Greece, Regionalism, Nationalism, 1937