Son of a florist, originally coming from Mani, Peloponnese, Michael Lekakis took drawing lessons while working at his father’s business. From the late 1920’s, he began working regularly in painting and sculpture. He attended open courses in history, history of art, literature, philosophy, music and anthropology at American universities and associated with American intellectuals and artists. He travelled to Mexico, the Yucatan, Europe and above all Greece, while maintaining his intimate ties with the New York Greek American community.

In 1941, he had his first solo exhibition at the Artists Gallery, New York. Then followed many solo shows, among them in the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1973) and the National Gallery, Athens (1980). Retrospective exhibitions of his work were organised in 1968 at the Dayton Art Institute and in 1987 at the Kouros Gallery, New York. He also participated in major group events, including the Whitney Museum, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Self-taught, but with wide-ranging interests, Michalis Lekakis was an artist who from an early age pursued his own creative course. He began with making realistic heads of his family but soon moved on to abstract sculpture. Working mainly on wood and taking advantage of the unpredictable nature of the material, he created works within the organic abstraction context. According to the specific elements they feature, his works have been distinguished in “columns”, linear and spherical forms, freely deployed in space or interlaced in various combinations, the outcome of merging biomorphs or geometric forms, evoking an effect of movement and growth. Their pedestals play a vital role in these works, as the artist considers them intimately related with the sculptures themselves and produces them in the same manner and material.

Besides sculpture, he also became involved with painting, drawing his subjects from mythology and tradition, and creating works of a symbolic character and a soft colour palette.