Alexander Iolas (1907-1987) was born in Alexandria, Egypt, on March 25, 1907, to Andreas and Persephone Coutsoudis, who were Greek. In 1924, he went to Berlin as a pianist, and later became a ballet dancer who toured extensively with the Theodora Roosevelt Company and later with the company formed by the Marquis de Cuevas. In the 1960s, above all, his gallery was one of the liveliest and most active in Paris.
Andy Warhol, Matta, Victor Brauner, Joseph Cornell, Yves Klein and Niki de Saint-Phalle were among the artists whom Mr. Iolas championed from the 1940s onward in his galleries in New York, Paris, Milan and Geneva. In promoting work that initially found few to favor it, he was able to reassure the potential client by his hierophantic manner, his often sensational mode of dress and his mischievous and sometimes irresistible charm.
In later years, Iolas retired to Athens. He had a very bittered conflict with one of the tabloid newpapers, "Avriani". He offered the Greek government his collection of modern art but it was refused (mostly due to homophobic reactions).