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Collection Overview

Vakalo, Giōrgos, 1902-1991
Giōrgos Vakalo Papers
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
21 boxes and 11.5 linear feet
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes 1-21; B-001859; B-001860; B-001861


The Giōrgos Vakalo Papers consists primarily of papers by and relating to the Greek painter and stage designer George Vakalo (1902-1991). Included are autograph and typed manuscripts of Vakalo's notes, talks, articles, interviews, TV or radio productions, artwork, as well as his correspondence, notebooks, photographs, and printed matter, such as exhibition art catalogs, magazines, and clippings. Of particular importance are the hundreds pieces of his artwork in a variety of media (ink, pencil, watercolor, conté crayon, engravings) and on a variety of supports (paper, carton, and canvas).

Collection Description & Creator Information


Consists of papers by and relating to Giōrgos Vakalo, a Greek painter, stage designer, art critic, and writer. Included are hundreds of his sketches or drawings showing various stages of creation. The works date from the time of his education in Greece and Paris the 1920s, including over the course of his entire life until the time of his death.

There are black-and-white photographs of several theatrical plays or exhibitions that Vakalo prepared or participated. Also, there are a large number of newspaper clippings kept by Vakalo through the years regarding critiques of his works; exhibition catalogs, programs and invitations, as well as lists of his works and contracts with several theaters or other organizations.

Apart from Vakalo's own writings, the collection contains a selection of typed manuscripts and printed matter by others written about Vakalo. The authors include many friends of Vakalo, art critics, as well as college students.


Organized into the following series and subseries:

Collection Creator Biography:

Vakalo, Giōrgos, 1902-1991

Giōrgos Vakalo was a painter and a stage designer. He was born in Constantinople in 1902. He began his art studies in his native Greece and continued them in Paris. There, in the decades between the two World Wars, he established his reputation both as a painter and as a stage designer working in the theater of the Cartel, Copeau, Baty Dullin, Pitoeff and Jouvet and also of Michel Saint-Denis, all of them reformers of the theatre following the revolution in design created by Gordon Craig. Vakalo during this period represented France at many international scenographic exhibitions and for his services was awarded a Chavelier of the Legion of Honor. Returning to Greece on the outbreak of World War II he has since designed productions for the National Theatre both for the classic dramas and comedies and for Shakespeare, Molière, de Musset, Brecht, and other dramatists. His paintings - a combination of surrealism, abstraction, and a characteristic playfulness - have been shown widely in Europe and in the United States and are to be found in the collections of former president of Cyprus, Makarios, the Museum of the École d'Aubusson and in the Harvard Library. Also they can be found in private collections in France, Belgium, Switzerland, America (Boston, Texas, and New York) and Japan. In Greece, his paintings are in state and private collections, in collections of societies and in the public galleries of Athens, Thessalonikē, Rhodes, and Iōannina.

For a certain period, the illustration of books was one of his most important activities. He took part in artistic movements, as a founding member in the group "Stathmoi." In 1957, along with his wife Helenē and a team of artists, designers and theorists, Panagiōtēs Tetsēs and Phrantzēs Phrantziskakēs, he established the first School of Decorative Arts, the "Vakalo School of Art and Design," in Athens (Greece). Vakalo died in 1991.

Collection History


Gift of Helenē Vakalo to the Program in Hellenic Studies for the Princeton University Library.


Nothing was removed from the collection.

Processing Information

Part of this collection was originally processed in 2000. New material was acquired in 2011. The collection was revised, reprocessed, and completed by Kalliopi Balatsouka in 2011. Finding aid was written by Kalliopi Balatsouka in 2011. New photographic material was received in 2018, it was processed, described, and arranged in new Series 8, which was added to the Finding Aid written by Kalliopi Balatsouka in March 2022.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research/

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Credit this material:

Giōrgos Vakalo Papers; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes 1-21; B-001859; B-001860; B-001861