Kostas Plakotaris received his early instruction in painting at Robert College in Istanbul under K.I. Kotis. In 1922, he went to Germany to study at the painting and printmaking workshops of the Reimann Schule, in Berlin, under the modernist painter and member of the Novembergruppe, Moritz Melzer. In Berlin, Plakotaris also studied political and economic sciences. He moved to Athens in 1925, after spending ten months in Paris. In his biography he noted, “The Cubist movement, then flourishing in Germany, influenced me… Yet, I gradually realized that all these movements – Cubism, Constructivism – were limiting me, and I went back to the study of nature and realism.”
Indeed, especially in the works he made during the mid-War period, echoes of the concerns of analytical Cubism and Orfism are evident: The outlines of the figures, while they still remain recognizable, dissolve; there is increased emphasis on the austere geometry of the composition, and colour, sometimes solid and sometimes graded, intensifies the effect of simplification.
Kostas Plakotaris taught art at the Anargyreios School on the island of Spetses (1930-1935); he taught arts and crafts at Athens College (1937-1940, 1950-1959) and technology of materials at ATI [Athens Institute of Technology] (1959-1961). His extraordinary technical qualifications are documented in his book Media and technique in painting and interior design [Υλικά και τεχνική στη ζωγραφική και διακοσμητική] (Athens 1969). He also worked as art editor of the illustrated magazine “Agricultural Future” [Αγροτικόν Μέλλον] (1937-1941). During the same period (1937-1940), he was a member of the artists’ group “Free artists” [Ελεύθεροι Καλλιτέχναι] and from 1945 to 1947 served as secretary general of the Arts Chamber of Greece [KEE (EETE)]. During the German Occupation he joined EAM [the Greek National Liberation Front].
Plakotaris had solo exhibitions of critical acclaim and participated in group exhibitions, including his first solo exhibition at “Romvos” in 1948, exhibitions at “Zygos” (1959, 1961) and “Nees Morfes” (1966, 1968), the posthumous tribute organised by the National Gallery in 1978, a participation in the Venice Biennale (1936), his contributions to exhibitions by the group “Free artists” (1937, 1939, 1940) and the Panhellenic art fairs in 1938, 1939, 1940, 1952, 1957, 1960, 1963, 1967, as well as the Salon International de l’Art Libre in Paris (where in 1967 he won the Silver Medal).