Viewing a Kondos landscape is like standing alone in nature, letting you bask in the beauty and inherent loneliness of the land.
Gregory Kondos has spent decades depicting California’s unique, majestic beauty, from its rolling farmland to its varied coastline, to the forests and peaks of Yosemite, where he has often served as artist-in-residence. He has been drawn as well to the deserts around Santa Fe, and to Europe, especially Greece, the country from which his parents emigrated. Now in his nineties, he is celebrated as one of the world’s foremost landscape painters, known for his light-filled palette and intuitive, organic forms that seem like effortless extensions of nature.
Kondos describes his paintings as possessing a sense of quietude and cleanliness while maintaining a necessary lonely quality: “Less is more…and what is left out makes the picture more understandable.” His distilled images tend to feature a solitary element—a lone boat, a mountain peak, a house standing away from the others—that projects a contemplative sense of being alone in thought. His simple yet lively palette and elegant lines, influenced by artists like Willem de Kooning, Cezanne, and Gauguin, allow us to place ourselves within the space of the painting. Chief curator and associate director at Sacramento’s Crocker Art Museum, Scott A. Shields, who organized “A Touch of Blue: Landscapes by Gregory Kondos” at the museum in 2013, remarks: “His paintings simultaneously celebrate the terrain's inherent formal, abstract properties, as well as the beautiful possibilities of the paint itself."
Kondos’ lifelong achievements place him in the great tradition of American landscape painters such as Albert Bierstadt, Edward Hopper, and Georgia O’Keefe. He has won numerous prizes and awards, including a lifetime achievement award from International Bienniale in Florence, Italy, and has been elected to the National Academy of Design in New York. Collections of Kondos’ work are displayed in museums around the world, including the Shanghai Art Museum in China, the Phoenix Art Museum, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The gallery at Sacramento City College, where he taught for nearly thirty years, bears his name, while the Crocker Art Museum recently published a monograph of his work.