Artists, Impressionism, Painters

Who was Thalia-Flora Karavia?

Thalia-Flora Karavia was a Greek artist who is better-known for her sketches of soldiers at war and by being a member of the Munich School. She painted a wide range of themes: portraits, landscapes, still lifes, genre scenes and book illustrations. Her portraits stand out for the penetrating analysis that the she makes of the psyche and temperament of her model.

Aquifer by Thalia-Flora Karavia.
(Photo credit: WikiArt)

Her early work followed the conservative rules of the academies of art, however with the time she adopted some concepts from the Impressionism and plein air painting.

Life and Career

Thalia-Flora Karavia was born in 1871 in Siatista, Western Macedonia, three years later her family moved to Istanbul where she obtained a scholarship to study at the Zappeion School for Girls from 1883 to 1888. After the graduation she started to work as a teacher for a year and then she decided to study painting. In 1895 she moved to Munich where could work with Georgios Jakobides, one of the main representatives of the Greek art movement of the Munich School; and Nikolaos Gyzis, who is considered as one of the most important Greek painters of 19th century.

As a woman she could not attend the Munich Academy of Fine Arts, however she took classes in design and painting in a private school, studying beside artists such as Nikolaos Vokos, Paul Nauen, Anton Ažbe and Walter Thor.

In 1906 she organised a joint exhibition with Sophia Laskaridou in Athens. The next year, while in Egypt, she married the journalist Nicholas Karavia. The couple decided to live in Alexandria, where she founded an art school.

During the Balkan War she decided to follow the Greek troops as a correspondent for the newspaper directed by her husband. Her drawings of the time depicted the lives of the troops, refugees, and some casualties in a style very close to the Impressionism. Those drawings were published in 1936 in a book titled Impressions of the 1912-1913 war in Macedonia and Epirus. She also recorded the Asia Minor Campaign of 1921 and the Albanian Front during the Greco-Italian War of 1940-41.

Thalia-Flora Karavia during the Balkan War, 1912
(Wikimedia Commons)

Karavia began exhibit her work in 1898. She participated in several solo and group exhibitions in Greece and abroad, including the Society of Art Devotees, the Parnassus Hall, the International Exhibition of Paris in 1900, Istanbul in 1901-1902, Athens in 1903, Cairo in 1909, Rome in 1911 as well as the Venice Biennale in 1934.

In 1940 she moved to Greece, where she spent the rest of her life, Thalia-Flora Karavia died in Athens in 1960.

The porch of caryatids


  • The War Museum of Athens has a large collection of her drawings, pastels and watercolours of the Balkan War and the Greek campaign in Asia Minor, they depicted the campaign at Emin Aga in February 1913, an improvised hospital at Philippiada, watering horses, portable bread ovens and so on.
  • About 70 of her war sketches were purchased from the artist in 1957 and donated to the Municipal Art Gallery of Ioannina.
  • Thalia Flora-Karavia designed the lottery tickets for the support of the Greek National Fleet.
The balcony in Cairo