Nicholas Egon (Biographical details)

Nicholas Egon (painter/draughtsman; Czechoslovakian; British; Male; 1921)

Also known as

Egon, Nicholas


b. Czechoslovakia. Artist, largely self-taught (also through the study of the old master drawings and prints in the British Museum, Ashmolean and other museums). Arrived in London aged 17. In 1940 commissioned official war artist to the Czech army. In 1944 posted in British army to Basra. 1946 returned to London and worked in Erno Goldfinger's architectural office. 1946-50 taught at Sir John Cass College and gave weekly lectures at the National Gallery. 1947 elected (the youngest) Fellow of Royal Society of Art. Early works included abstracts inspired by science. He was involved with British Surrealists (Roland Penrose, Jack Brunius, E.L.T. Mesens) and exhibited at the Zwemmer Gallery alongside the likes of John Tunnard, Conroy Maddox, Ithel Colqhoun, Eileen Agar, Matta and Henry Moore. Since 1949, when he went to Greece where he was commissioned to paint a war memorial and subsequently to make portraits of the Greek royal family, he has been largely active as a society portraitist and as a landscape painter. Has depicted many heads of state, not least in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Morocco (the Jordanians often used works by him as gifts of state). Other sitters include W. Somerset Maugham, L.S. Lowry, Arturo Toscanini and Helen Mirren (the latter in 1966). Since 1978 has focussed on painting the Greek landscape.
With his wife, Matti Xyla, benefactor of the Greek and Roman Department (members of the "Caryatid" supporters group). Founder and benefactor of the annual Runciman Lectures at King's College, London, in honour of his close friend, the Byzantinist Sir Steven Runciman (1903-2000).


Fani-Maria Tsigakou, 'Nicholas Egon', Benaki Museum, Athens, 2007