Alexander Iolas (1907-1987) was one of the most important and glamorous art dealers of the second half of the twentieth century. One of the first gallerists to create an international network of galleries, he introduced Surrealism to the United States, and gave Andy Warhol his first and last solo shows. Although he had been a friend and loyal supporter of some of the most important artists of his time, Iolas was soon forgotten after his death in 1987. His Athens house, the legendary Villa Iolas, was doomed to the same fate, its invaluable art collection being stolen and dispersed.
The exhibition Casa Iolas. Citofonare Vezzoli (Villa Iolas. Please dial Vezzoli) reimagines the now lost rooms of Villa Iolas through the eyes of Francesco Vezzoli, who has for long investigated the psychological complexities of celebrity. Works by artists supported by Iolas at his galleries and represented in his collection, namely Victor Brauner, William N. Copley, Giorgio de Chirico, Max Ernst, Lucio Fontana, Paul Klee, Yves Klein, René Magritte, Georges Mathieu, Pino Pascali, Man Ray, Martial Raysse and Fausta Squatriti, will be displayed in a theatrical set-up alongside works by Vezzoli and antique pieces of furniture recalling the aesthetic of Villa Iolas.
According to Vezzoli, “Casa Iolas does not only pay homage to a great gallerist that has almost been forgotten, but also to a gallery culture based on relationships of friendship, trust, and mutual esteem, which seem to have disappeared from the contemporary art world. For this reason, I wanted to honor Iolas in all his facets, as a gallerist and as a collector, as a dandy of the art market and as an aesthete.”