Museum of Contemporary Art
Donation of Iolas, Xydis and Aperghis
January 1, 2018 - December 31, 2037

The permanent exhibition of the works of the Iola donation is presented on three levels in the wing completed in 1997 as part of the program of the European Capital of Culture Organization "Thessaloniki '97". 47 emblematic works by Greek and international artists are included in the donation and are the personal choices of the benefactor-donor Alexandros Iolas (1908-1987), with the aim of contributing to the establishment of a Contemporary Art Center. The collector and patron of contemporary art was active in the art world in the 1950s-1980s internationally. His collection included numerous works of art, both ancient and modern.

With a constant love for the work of art as an object, Iolas maintained his undiminished interest in the artistic endeavors after the war, when the overall goal was to create a new visual and cultural reality. He helped promote artists around the world and was instrumental in establishing the surrealists in America. His exhibition activity peaked in the 1960s and 1970s in art galleries and institutions in the artistic metropolises.

On each level of the exhibition space, a different narrative unit develops that highlights the donor's relationship with famous artists, from Victor Brauner to Kostas Tsoklis, from Alexis Akrithakis to Giorgos Lazogas and Pavlos, from Niki de Phalle to Jean Tinguely, from from Dennis Oppenheim to Andy Warhol, from Elisseo Mattiaci to Pino Pascali, from Novello Finotti to Herbert List and Takis, the path that Iolas traveled in the artistic space, not only reflects subjective preferences, but also a sharp gaze, constantly open to artistic expression.

The architectural plans of the three-story building unit are a donation of Xanthi Scarpia-Heupel of the office "Jonos, Heupel, Heupel". During construction, archaeological findings were uncovered and part of a road has been saved and preserved at ground level.


Alexandros Xydis (1917-2004) is an important figure of the Greek post-war cultural reality: diplomat, critic and art historian, he was widely active in the artistic field both with his systematic art criticism, his presence in the society of Greek Art Critics and the international Association of Art Critics, as well as with the organization of exhibitions, as a member of the committee of Greek Art exhibitions abroad at the Ministry of Education initially(1963-1966) and later of the Ministry of Culture (1981-1982).

His collection, formed around 60 years, is, among other things, the result of the spiritual ties he developed with artists, as well as the collaboration of his wife, Dorothea Xydis.

The donation of 210 works from the collection of Alexandros and Dorothea Xydis to the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art (MMCT) in 1999 was the result of a long-term relationship with the institution since its early years. These works today are part of the concession that the MMCT advanced to, the Metropolitan Organization of Visual Arts Museums of Thessaloniki (MOMus).


Achilleas Aperghis (1909-1986) was one of the most important artists in the history of Greek sculpture, who pioneered and contributed substantially to the foundation of abstraction. From the late 1950s he presented his work in group and solo exhibitions in Europe, representing Greece at international exhibitions and attracting public interest and criticism. 

His particular contribution to abstraction is recognized in the peculiarity of his plastic language, which is achieved after a long and painful experimentation with the materials. The titles he gave o his works, such as Birds, Revival, Flight, etc., refer to nature and natural phenomena, suggesting his interest in the plastic performance of movement and change. 

The donation of Aperghis’ work at the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art in 2002 by his son, Yorgos Aperghis, enriched the Museum’s collections and gave an extensive picture of the work of this important artist. These works, as well as the rest of the MMCA collection, after the merger of the foundation with the State Museum of Contemporary Art in November 2018, are currently managed by the Metropolitan Organization of Fine Arts Museums of Thessaloniki (MOMus).