Nikos Engonopoulos (1907-1985) was born in Athens, spent his childhood in Istanbul, and attended a boarding school in Paris. In 1927 he settled in Athens permanently and begun his dual apprenticeship in painting; in the School of Fine Arts and privately, with FotisKontoglou. But the poet preceded the painter. Engonopoulos made his first melodramatic and scandalous appearance in Greek literary circles with his "Do not speak to the driver" in 1938, three years after Andreas Empeirikos published his "Ypsikaminos" (Blast Furnace.)
Much later, Engonopoulos commented on the event: "When my book appeared, the scandal that erupted far exceeded the boldest imagination."
His first solo exhibition in November 1939 at the house of poet Nicholas Kalas, was equally provocative and boisterous. The painter had already adopted a personal style the followed him until the end of his life. His painting, "La très noble dame ElisavetMoutzanMartinegou," (1956) balances on the crossroads between Byzantine and surrealistic expression, with clear attributions to Giorgio de Chirico.