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Basil P. Goulandris

Inauguration of the Archaeological Museum, 31ST  August 1981: the then Minister of culture, Andreas Andrianopoulos cuts the ribbon. Next to him, Mr  Basil Goulandris, Mrs Elise B. Goulandris and Mrs Claude PompidouBasil and Elise Goulandris

Basil and Elise Goulandris with the painter Marc Chagall

1981: The then French Minister of External Affairs, Jean François-Poncet, confers to Basil P. Goulandris the title of the Legion of Honour.
Basil P. Goulandris, was not only a successful ship-owner, but also a sensitive and knowledgeable art collector. Along with his wife Elise, they felt a great affinity with the arts, sponsoring and supporting the visual arts, and counted among their friends many artists, writers and distinguished intellectuals.

Basil P. Goulandris was born in 1913 on the Cycladic island of Andros. Upon completion of his studies in Greece, he pursued postgraduate studies in Law in Switzerland. In 1950 he took over the management of the family shipping companies based in New York. For many years he held the position of Honorary Chairman of the Association of Greek Ship Owners and was also a member of the Board of Directors of the American Bureau of Shipping.

His passion for the arts led him to become an outstanding art collector. He was an active Friend of numerous museums and foundations in the United States and later in Europe, particularly in France. There he was in close contact with business and artistic circles thus forwarding the development of cultural links and exchanges between Greece and France. In recognition of his contribution to that he was awarded the highest distinctions of the French Republic. In 1981 he was appointed the title of “Knight of the Legion of Honour” (“Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur”) and in 1986 of “Officer of the Legion of Honour” (“Officier de la Légion d’Honneur”). In 1983 he was once again honoured by the French Ministry of Culture with the distinction of “Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters” (“Commandeur de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres”).
In Greece he was conferred the “Cross of Commanders of the Battalion of George I” in 1956, the Silver Medal of the Academy of Athens in 1981 and the distinction of the “High Dignitary of the Ecumenical Patriarchate”, in 1992.

Basil P. Goulandris passed away on the 27th of April 1994, in Athens, Greece.

Elise B. Goulandris

Elise B. Goulandris, nee Karadontis, was born in 1917 in Athens, Greece. After graduating from high school in Athens she went to study in New York. There, in 1950, she met and married the ship owner Basil P. Goulandris.

She developed multiple activities within the Greek communities in New York as well as in Lausanne and Paris, where the couple settled for several years. With their art collection they developed a remarkable cultural activity in Paris, especially regarding the field of museums and the visual arts. In recognition of her contribution to art, as well as to the Franco-Hellenic friendship, the French government awarded her the highest distinction of the “Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters” (“Commandeur de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres”). In 1981 the Academy of Athens awarded her the Silver Medal for her “Patriotism and Love of Beauty” (“Filopatria and Filokalia”).

Elise B. Goulandris passed away on the 25th of July 2000, in Athens, Greece.