Gounaropoulos’s return to Greece will coincide with the emergence of an important artistic movement in which the so-called “30’s Generation” will play the leading role. Artists who returned from Paris, like Michael Tombros and Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas, as well as Giorgos Bouzianis who came back from Germany, together with Gounaropoulos, will infuse the international avant-garde trends to the artistic life of Greece.
In 1934 Greece participates for the first time at the Venice Biennale, with works by 74 renown artists. One of them is Gounaropoulos, whose work is given special mention in the articles published in the Italian press.
The year 1935 sees an exhibition that marks a watershed in the evolution of modern art in Greece. It is the “Exhibition of the Three”, in which Gounaropoulos, Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas and the sculptor Tombros jointly show their work.
In July 1937, Gounaropoulos is entrusted by the Municipality of Athens to paint the murals of the Council Chamber of the Athens City Hall. Remaining faithful to his personal style, he creates a magnificent pictorial ensemble of 112 square meters. He employs an oil based paint mixed with wax. The mural represents the history of Athens from ancient to modern times. The historically faithful depiction of the figures, clothing and objects is due to Gounaropoulos’s meticulous study of ancient Greek vases, coins, sepulchral steles, statues, and of much of the available literature on ancient Greek art. He began working on the mural in March 1938 and completed it two years later.
In 1950-51 he paints the murals in the Church of Hagia Triada, in the Greek city of Volos. In 1958 he receives the Guggenheim Award for Greece.
Throughout the long course of his career, Gounaropoulos presents his work in more than seventy group exhibitions in Greece and abroad, four solo exhibitions in Paris, one in Alexandros Iolas’s “Hugo Gallery” in New York (1948), and twelve solo exhibitions in Greece (indicatively: 1949, Gallery “Romvos”; 1957, French Institute of Athens; 1959 and 1962, Gallery “Zygos”; 1965, 1971 and 1973, Gallery “Astor”; 1975, retrospective at the National Gallery – Alexandros Soutsos Museum)
Alongside his painting, Gounaropoulos illustrates books of contemporary poets and intellectuals, such as Andreas Empeirikos, a major Greek poet and close friend of his, Sotiris Skipis, Apostolos Melachrinos, I.M. Panagiotopoulos and Kostas Varnalis.
Gounaropoulos will die in 1977, having attained eighty eight years of life and sixty five consecutive years of artistic creation. When once asked, shortly before he died, whether he was content with his contribution to art, he answered: “Yes, because what I gave was my own personal vision, and no, because an artist’s work comprises but a slight percentage of his entire vision.”