He came to Greece in 1906 where he studied painting at the Athens School of Fine Arts (1907-1912) under professors Spyros Vikatos, Dimitrios Geraniotis, Georgios Roilos and Georgios Jakovides. Having acquired an Averoff scholarship, he went to Paris in 1919 where he completed his studies at the Julian and Grande Chaumiere Academies.
During his stay in the French capital he took part in Parisian Salons and in 1926 presented his first solo show at the Gallery Vavin-Raspail. In Athens, to which he permanently returned in 1931, he held his first exhibition in 1924, while the solo show he organized in 1929 at the Stratigopoulos gallery was rebuked by the adherents of academic technique, but hailed by the younger critics. His exhibition activity continued with both solo shows and appearances in Panhellenies, the exhibitions of the Art Group and Spirit- Level and international exhibitions such as Sao Paolo in 1959 and Alexandria in 1963. In 1958, representing Greece, he received the international Guggenheim Prize and in 1975 his work was presented in a retrospective exhibition at the National Gallery. Since 1979 the painter’s house has operated as the Gounaropoulos Museum, after being donated by his family for that purpose.
His artistic creation also includes illustrations of collections of poetry, wall paintings for the meeting room of the Municipal Council of the Mayor’s Office of Athens with scenes inspired by mythology and the history of the city (1937-1939) and the iconography for the chapel of the Public Hospital of Volos (1951)). Starting off in the academic tradition and then coming into contact with the teachings of impressionism and Cezanne, he ended with his own personal, surrealistic style, in which the linearly rendered figures are inspired by ancient lekythoi and are imbued with an atmosphere both dreamy and highly lyrical, where the game of light and shadow plays the primary role.