Yannis Tsarouchis was born in 1910 in Piraeus, Athens.
From 1928 to 1933 he studied at The School of Fine Arts, Athens, under Constantinos Parthenis, Spyros Vikatos, Georgios Iakovides and Dimitris Biskinis. Between 1930 and 1934, simultaneously, he also studied under Fotis Kondoglou who introduced him to Byzantine painting.
Between 1935 and 1936 Tsarouchis went to Paris for a year where he studied the Renaissance and 19th century art of Le Louvre, as well as Monet and impressionism, in other museums. There, in Paris, he enrolled at Hayterres atelier, where he studied engraving with Max Ernest and Giacometti (his fellow students). In Paris he formed a strong friendship with Stratis Eleftheriades, Teriade. As a result he came about the paintings of Theophilos in the Teriade collection.
In 1938, two years after his return to Greece he has his first solo exhibition.
In 1940 Yannis Tsarouchis fought on the Albanian front, and during the German Occupation worked mainly as a stage designer and a conservator, as a way of earning a living.
In 1951 he exhibited in Paris at Gallery d’Art du Faurbourg and the same year in London at Redfern Gallery. In 1952 the British Council in Athens exhibited his work, which included painting, drawing and stage design sketches.
In 1953 he signed a contract with Alexander Iolas Gallerym, New York, after which he painted some of his best works, including Neon and Forgotten Garrison.
In 1958 he exhibited at The National Museum of Modern Art, Paris and at The Guggenheim Museum, New York. The same year he travelled to Texas and designed costumes and stage sets for Cherubinis’ opera Medea, directed by Alexis Minotis, starring Maria Callas. This opera was later staged at Covent Garden, London, Epidaurus, Greece and La Scala, Milan.
Theatre was greatly important to Tsarouchis. Throughout his life he worked on stage and costume design, collaborating with the likes of Franco Zeffirelli, Karolos Koun, and Michalis Kakoyiannis, to name a few.
With Greece under dictatorship, in 1967, Tsarouchis decided to move to Paris. Between 1975 and 1983 he lived between Athens and Paris until eventually moving back to Greece.
His work can be found in The National Gallery of Greece, The Municipal Gallery of Athens, The Municipal Art Gallery of Rhodes, The Leventis Gallery and many other public and private collections.