“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.”
Francesco Vezzoli, an artist who has for long investigated the psychological complexities of fame, meets Alexander Iolas (1907-1987), one of the legendary art dealers and collectors 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 solo show. 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 was doomed to the same fate, its invaluable art collection being stolen and dispersed.
The now lost atmospheres of this legendary house and the history of its visionary owner are evoked in the exhibition Casa Iolas. Citofonare Vezzoli, curated by Francesco Vezzoli, at the Galleria Tommaso Calabro from September 24, 2020 to January 16, 2021, and in the present publication.
This catalogue includes an essay by Luca Massimo Barbero, focusing on Alexander Iolas and the artistic and intellectual milieu of his time, three interviews to Iolas by Robert Colacello, Iris Love, and Peter Dragadze (translated into Italian for the first time on this occasion), a conversation between Tommaso Calabro and Francesco Vezzoli, and an essay by Filippo Bisagni on the exhibition design. The catalogue is enriched by an unpublished photographic section comparing the rooms of Iolas’s house during their splendor and after they fell into ruins, as well as by archival and photographic material on the artists Iolas worked with, including Victor Brauner, William N. Copley, Giorgio de Chirico, Niki de Saint Phalle, Max Ernst, Lucio Fontana, Edward Kienholz, Paul Klee, Yves Klein, René Magritte, Georges Mathieu, Roberto Matta, Eliseo Mattiacci, Pino Pascali, Man Ray, Martial Raysse, Ed Ruscha, Fausta Squatriti, Takis, Dorothea Tanning, and Jean Tinguely. Installation views reveal the three levels of the exhibition, where the works of these artists converse with those by Francesco Vezzoli – some of which have been executed for the show – and furniture pieces reminiscent of those of the villa.
— Tommaso Calabro
… En même temps… avec l’imprécision du rêve et du mythe. Digressions on Iolas
— Luca Massimo Barbero
Iolas. The Divine Dealer
— Robert Colacello
— Iris Love
Alexander Iolas’s Temple of Art
— Peter Dragadze
— Tommaso Calabro & Francesco Vezzoli
Catalogue of works
Casa Iolas. Citofonare Vezzoli
Anticamera and Casa Iolas: notes on two exhibition design projects
— Filippo Bisagni
Anticamera Iolas. Materiali d’archivio
List of works exhibited