Drossos Skyllas

Drossos Skyllas’s (1912-1973) work stands out from other celebrated self-taught artists due to his technical proficiency and the inspiration he drew from art history. With sources ranging from Byzantine mosaics to Playboy magazine, his nudes, portraits, landscapes and religious paintings take on an idyllic perspective that reminds us of iconic realism. A professor at the school of the Art Institute of Chicago referred to him as ‘Chicago’s Vermeer’.

Skyllas was born on the Greek island of Kalymnos. His family discouraged his desire to pursue art. Instead, Skyllas studied accounting and worked at his father’s tobacco company. At the end of World War II, he emigrated to Chicago with his wife, Iola. Once in Chicago, Iola worked, so he could paint. He educated himself with frequent visits to the Art Institute of Chicago and meticulously created at least 35 paintings with fine brush strokes, making his own brushes, when he couldn’t find ones fine enough.

Skyllas took his work very seriously, placing advertisements to seek commissions, addressing potential patrons in his writing, and entering his work into a biannual exhibition of area artists held at the Art Institute. After Skyllas’s death in 1973, his work continued to be exhibited. Most works are now part of the permanent collections of museums. There is no evidence he sold his work, likely due to the high prices he demanded.

Read the catalog ‘Chicago Calling: Art Against the Flow’ online via ISSUU.

  • Aldobrando Piacenza 13 - Museum van de Geest
  • Drossos Skyllas
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