BIO: ATHOS ZACHARIAS 1927 - 2019
Painter Athos Zacharias creates dynamic works notable for their spontaneity and characterized by Art News as “blindingly original.” Now the one-time assistant to Willem de Kooning has produced a new group of paintings uniting his major ideas as a “between generational painter”.
“My work resides in the present.I allow a great deal of the world
into my awareness. I make beautiful accidents and then refine them. Working in silence evokes energy and movement, shape and color, so that the entire painting can be seen in a single glance.
For me it is always about surprise: the element of the new. I paint
alla prima, spontaneously abandoning myself to the gesture until the personality of the painting asserts itself and I must stop. References to reality appear, but the subject of the painting is always my own imagination.
I remain a disciple of Abstract Expressionism, sometimes referred to as Action Painting.The act of painting is the path to my most vital self.
His paintings can be found in important collections including the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; the Museum of Art, Providence, RI; The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MI; The Kalamazoo Institute of Art, Kalamazoo, MI; The Butler Art Institute, Youngstown, OH; E.F.Hutton & Co., NY; and The Westinghouse Corporation, Pittsburgh,PA.
Mr. Zacharias has exhibited in leading galleries in major American cities including New York and the Hamptons, as well internationally; notably in Amsterdam and Japan.
Arriving in New York in 1956, Mr. Zacharias immersed himself in the downtown art scene where he quickly met many of the artists who would influence his artistic life. Over time, he worked as an assistant to Larry Rivers, Grace Hartigan, Mary Abbot, Jack Tworkov, Alfonso Ossorio, and Lee Krasner. Another friend and major influence was abstract painter Franz Kline. It was during his years of friendship with Willem de Kooning that his vision of himself as an artist and a deeper understanding of painting emerged.
“I met Milton Resnick, who invited me to the Artists Club” where I attended many Friday night gatherings; participating on a “Younger Artists” panel. Shortly thereafter, I met de Kooning and a friendship blossomed. I was fortunate to be his first assistant when his studio was on Tenth Street. He believed in my work so strongly that he sponsored me for the Longview Foundation Award in 1962. I began to exhibit at the local Guild Hall where in 1961, and again in 1979, I won
the “Best in Show Award”. My friendship with de Kooning continued until his death. I was also part of the Tenth Street Cooperative Movement. In 1959, I joined the Tenth Street’s “March Gallery” and showed with Mark di Suvero. I continued showing downtown at the “Great Jones Gallery” and in 1961, I had my first one-person show at the Gallery Mayer, an
uptown gallery that represented artists including John Graham and Man Ray.” “Sometimes I feel that creativity is an unending obsession” says Mr. Zacharias. “My enthusiasm never wavers and new doors continue to open.
For me, painting is a journey into the self.”
Athos Zacharias was born in Marlborough, MA in 1927 and raised in Fall River, MA. He earned a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1952, on the GI Bill, and an MFA in 1953 from Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI.
He died of kidney failure August 2019 in East Hampton, NY, at age 92