During his six-decade painting career, the style of Theodore Hios occasionally turned abstract but he mostly hewed to expressive portraits and especially visionary views of nature that were sometimes reminiscent of Marsden Hartley. He often found inspiration for his landscapes in his memories of the canyons and precipices around Tripi, the small Greek village where he was born.
In 1929, after becoming disenchanted with law studies, Mr. Hios followed his father and a brother to New York, where he scraped together a living working mostly in restaurants. In 1934 he enrolled in a Works Progress Administration art class in a public school, and by 1937 was a working member of the WPA. As a member of the American Artists’ Union, he had his first public showing with that organization in 1936.
During World War II, Hios enlisted in the Marine Corps and was made a combat photographer, serving in the Pacific. After the war he studied at the Art Students League. He had his first solo show in New York at the Contemporary Arts Gallery in 1947.
During the 1960s Theo Hios began teaching at the New School of Social Research. There he had five solo exhibitions between 1964 and 1983. In 1961 Hios exhibited at the Carnegie International. A summer home in Hampton Bays on Long Island led Hios to have solo exhibitions at the Parrish Art Museum in 1964 and 1972, as well as at the Guild Hall Museum in 1970. In 1998 to commemorate his 90th birthday, Susan Teller Gallery held a Theo Hios retrospective.
Hios participated in numerous group exhibitions, including at the Poindexter Gallery (1954 and 1960); New York City WPA Art at Parsons School of Design, New York, NY, 1977; People, Place and Pattern at the Edwin A. Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita, KS, 1996; Odysseus’s Progeny, Queens Museum, NY, 2000; and Modern Odysseys, Thessaloniki State Museum of Contemporary Art, Greece, 2000.
Hios’ works can be found at the Brooklyn Museum, the Smithsonian, the Museum of Modern Art, and other important institutions.