The George Economou Collection is a private collection located in Athens, Greece. Rooted in history, social awareness and aesthetics, the collecting activity began evolving in the 1990s with a focus on early twentieth-century European art and has expanded to include an important holding of postwar and contemporary art.
Central movements of the early twentieth century such as German Expressionism and New Objectivity are collected in depth. Unique to the collection is the complete graphic oeuvre of Otto Dix and Otto Mueller. Works by artists such as Georg Baselitz, Isa Genzken, Andreas Gursky, Günther Förg , Martin Kippenberger, Albert Oehlen, Sigmar Polke, Neo Rauch and Günther Uecker continue the German dialogue into the contemporary sphere alongside works by noted international artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Mark Bradford, Alberto Burri, Dan Flavin, Lucio Fontana, Robert Gober, David Hammons, Donald Judd, Ellsworth Kelly, Yves Klein, Agnes Martin, Paul McCarthy, Charles Ray, Jenny Saville, Kazuo Shiraga, Frank Stella and Jeff Wall.
With a desire to share the creativity of the artists represented in the collection, the George Economou Collection organizes two to three exhibitions per year in the space in Athens and collaborates regularly with international institutions and curators. Reflecting the interest for sociocultural awareness and the historical dialogue, these projects aim to create new opportunities for the public in Greece and abroad to engage with art.
George Economou was born in Athens and is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He began his career in shipping, expanded into offshore drilling and real estate, and has had a passion for art throughout his career. His collecting activity began in the 1990s with a focus on early twentieth-century European art and has grown to include an important holding of postwar and contemporary art. In 2012 he opened a public exhibition space for the collection in the suburbs of Athens, which holds several exhibitions per year, often in collaboration with international institutions and curators. Mr. Economou is a non-executive trustee for the Tate Foundation, on the board of trustees of the Dia Art Foundation, and a benefactor to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Skarlet Smatana is director of the George Economou Collection. Since taking this position in 2012, she has honed the objectives of the collection and spearheaded its exhibition program, contextualizing it within twentieth-century art-historical and contemporary discourse. She often partners and collaborates with major public institutions and private foundations worldwide to promote publicly exhibited collections as well as philanthropic and lending initiatives to support contemporary artists. At the George Economou Collection in Athens, Smatana has co-organized solo exhibitions of artists including Jeff Wall, Jenny Saville, Charles Ray, David Hammons, and Rashid Johnson, as well as a two-person show of Georg Baselitz and Paul McCarthy. Each of these exhibitions has been accompanied by a monograph featuring scholarly essays by acclaimed writers and curators. Before joining the George Economou Collection, Smatana worked at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice as well as at leading contemporary art galleries, among them Pace Gallery, New York; Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago; and, as director, at L&M Arts, New York. Throughout her career in galleries and independently, she has built some of the most important collections worldwide and advised prominent institutions in the United States. Smatana has an MA in art history, theory, and criticism from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, focusing on postwar and contemporary art with a specialization in German art.