Born in Sozopol, Bulgaria, he moved to Greece in 1906 where he studied painting at the Athens School of Fine Arts. In 1919, having received a scholarship, he moved to Paris in order to complete his studies at the Julien and Grande Chaumiere academies. During his stay he took part in Parisian Salons, and in 1926, he presented his first solo exhibition at the gallery Vavin-Raspail. Ηe continued his exhibition activity with shows both in Greece and other countries, such as the Biennales of Sao Paolo and Alexandria. In 1958, he received the Guggenheim Prize, while in 1975 the National Gallery presented a retrospective exhibition of his work. Since 1979, his house operates as the Gounaropoulos Museum, donated by his family. In 1980, Kourd Gallery hosted a retrospective exhibition of his works.
Starting off in the academic tradition, he ended up in a personal, surrealistic style where female figures are dominant in a dreamy atmosphere. The game of shadow and light plays a primary role in his work as well as his obsession with poetic and symbolic themes. It is a «cosmic painting» as Gounaropoulos used to call it.