[From the Community Collection, a public trust in Agincourt, Iowa]
VLAHAKIS, Anthony [1926–2008]
Canal Saint-Martin, Paris
oil on canvas / 14 inches by 18 inches
Vlahakis was born in Greater New York City to emigrant Greek parents. He joined the U.S. Marines in 1943 and saw active duty in Saipan and Okinawa, receiving an honorable discharge in 1945. He then attended The University of Mexico, the Art Students League of New York and the Academy de la Grand Chaumiere¹ in Paris. His obituary identifies him as a “multi-lingual world traveler, a strong supporter for human rights and social justice and the autistic community”.
This undated and untitled work — probably a study of the Canal Saint-Martin which inspired other artists like Alfred Sisley — was created during his time in Paris in the early 1950s.² The painting has a nostalgic connection with the Bernhard family who once lived at #65, Quai de Valmy, on the canal’s west bank, in the 10th Arrondissement.
¹ The Academie de la Grand Chaumiere was established in 1904 as an economical alternative to the École des Beaux Arts.
² Emigration records document Vlahakis’s 1951 departure for France and his U.S. arrival in 1953, which probably bracket his time at the Academie.