“I am sorry I will disappoint those who were kind enough to nominate me for one of the National Awards this year. I am thankful to them, but I must decline this distinction. I stand strongly by my principle never to challenge my personal free will and judgment with circumstantial interferences,” wrote KlearhosLoukopoulos in December 1972, when he declined the 2nd National Prize in Visual Arts. Before him, the Prize was declined by painter AlekosKontopoulos, followed by engraver GiorgosVarlamos. The enactment of the National Prizes in Literature, Theater, and the Arts was the military dictatorship’s most significant intervention in the art field. The collective refusal of the artists to accept them and the subsequent noise it created prompted the regime to withdraw them silently.
KlearhosLoukopoulos (1906-1995) was one of the most prominent post-war sculptors and one of the most renowned ambassadors of abstract art. With his monumental pieces, often inspired by Minoan art, he helped modern Greek sculpture in its transition from the sterile imitation of ancient art to its contemporary identity.