Yiannis Spyropoulos was born at Pylos, Messinia in 1912.
In 1930 he enrolled at The School of Fine Arts, Athens, where he studied painting under Umbertos Argyros, Spyros Vikatos and Epaminondas Thomopoulos.
In 1938 Spyropoulos won the First Prize in a competition organised by The Academy of Athens, which was a scholarship to study in Western Europe. He chose to go to Paris where he attended École Supérieure des Beaux Arts, Colarossi and Julian free academies.
Spyropoulos’ painting Anafiotika is one of five works with which he represented Greece in the 1958 Guggenheim Prize International Competition, New York.
In 1959 he was among eight Greek artists selected to represent Greek art in eight American cities. Abstraction being prominent among the works represented.
Yiannis Spyropoulos, amongst other artists, represented Greece in the 1960 Venice Biennale and won the Unesco Prize with Italian artist Antonio Music. The Unesco Prize put Spyropoulos into the international limelight and at the start of an international career.
Between 1960 and 1975 he held many solo exhibitions around the globe. In 1960 and 1963 at World House Galleries, New York. In 1960 at Galleria Gian Ferrari, Milan. In 1962 at Portland Art Museum, Oregon / Roswell Museum and Art Center, New Mexico / Neue Galerie im Kunstlerhaus, Munich / Institute of Art History, Mainz / Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois. In 1963 at Jerrold Morris International Gallery, Toronto / Theater der Stadt Lunen, Westphalia, Germany. In 1964 at the prestigious Documenta III, Kassel, Germany / Sheafer Art Gallery, Grimmel College, Iowa / Fränkische Galerie der Stadt Nürnberg / Galerie des Deux Mondes, TWA Flight Center, J.F. Kennedy Airport, New York. In 1965 at David Jones Art Gallery, Sydney, Australia and Galerie Arnaud, Paris. In 1966 at The Israel National Museum, Jerusalem. In 1969 at the National Collection of Fine Arts, the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
He was named Commander of the Royal Order of the Phoenix in 1966.
His work can be found in The National Gallery of Greece, The Municipal Gallery of Athens, The Municipal Gallery of Rhodes, The Leventis Gallery, The Averoff Gallery, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, National art Gallery, Toronto, Musée D’Art Moderne, Paris, Musée D’Art Moderne, Brussels and many other public and private collections.