ART / exhibitions / photography

Nelly’s at the Benaki Pireos

FOR ardent lovers of artistic photography (but not only), the exhibition of works by Nelly’s is a must-see. The year 2023 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary since the death of photographer Elly Sougioultzoglou-Seraidari (1899-1998), better known as Nelly’s. With a profound sense of responsibility towards her legacy, the Benaki Museum, to which she entrusted her valuable oeuvre in 1984, pays tribute to her with the “NELLY’S” retrospective exhibition which reintroduces the artist to today’s public. The exhibition runs at the Benaki Museum / Pireos 138 till July 23, 2023, and was inaugurated by H.E. the President of the Hellenic Republic Ms. Katerina Sakellaropoulou on February 22.

EllySougioultzoglou-Seraidari(Nelly’s)The Russian dancer Elizaveta “Lila” Nikolska in the Parthenon, November 1930© Benaki Museum / Photographic Archives

Nelly’s diverse work is arranged in three chapters corresponding to the three cities in which she shaped her photographic perspective: from her student years in Dresden in the early ’20s to her arrival in Athens, where she cut a dynamic figure within the city’s photographic world, and on to New York, where, in 1966, she finally retired after twenty-seven years of tireless work in the U.S.A.

In this series of photographs, Nelly’s experiments with the contrast of the white figure against a black background. © Menelaos Myrillas, Benaki Museum

The arrangement of her photographic work into groups illustrates the vast array of themes that triggered her lens during the forty-five years of her professional involvement with the medium. Well-known photographs from her numerous publications are complemented by new and heretofore unseen works, in an attempt to highlight the diverse aesthetic trends that she followed, as well as the many techniques with which she experimented, both in black & white and colour.

Nelly bequeathed Greek photography with a large and diverse body of work which combines boldness, a keen eye for detail, technical mastery, photographic astuteness, and aesthetic certainty in perfect proportion.

This retrospective presentation of the oeuvre of Elly Sougioultzoglou-Seraidari (Nelly’s) was realised thanks to the generous contribution of Aris Theodoridis, unfailingly an ardent supporter of our efforts, and to the support of the John S. Fafalios Foundation, Andreas and Alexandra Voureka-Petala, Alexandros Malaspinas and his family, Maria Embeirikou, the “Friends of the Benaki Museum” Association, the G & A Mamidakis Foundation, Blue gr Hotels & Resorts, Dimitris Tsitouras, and our regular partners.

© Menelaos Myrillas, Benaki Museum

The accompanying publication would not have been possible without the financial support of the George & Victoria Karelia Foundation.

Exhibition curator Aliki Tsirgialou

Exhibition Design: Natalia Boura, Architect – Head of

The retrospective exhibition of Elly Sougioultzoglou-Seraidari’s photographic work coincides with the fifty-year anniversary of the Benaki Museum Photographic Archives and is dedicated to the Department’s founder, Mrs Aimilia Geroulanou, and to the late Angelos Delivorrias, long-standing director of the Benaki Museum.

For more info, visit the Benaki Museum site here

  • BENAKI MUSEUM / PIREOS 138 I Pireos 138 & Andronikou Str, Athens I +30 210 3453111 Ι Visiting Hours: Thursday & Sunday:10:00-18:00, Friday & Saturday: 10:00-22:00, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: closed. Exhibition admission: € 12 I Reduced: € 9.

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