IN RECOGNITION OF JULIAN STANCZAK ﷯ This year, for our 55th annual awards program, we are pleased to present a special tribute to Julian Stanczak, who received his Cleveland Arts Prize award in 1969 at the peak of his fame as a major figure in the Op Art movement. Julian was born in Poland in 1928. At the beginning of World War II, he was forced into a Siberian labor camp, where he permanently lost the use of his right, dominant arm. In 1942, at 13, he escaped from Siberia to join the Polish army-in-exile in Persia, and ended up spending his teenage years in a hut in a Polish refugee camp in Uganda. There, he learned to write and paint left-handed. He then lived in London, and in 1950, moved to the US, where he settled in Cleveland. By the late 1950s and early ‘60s he had emerged as a painter of extraordinary power and striking originality. He was the first to use undulating lines in his paintings, producing unsettling, quivering forms that seemed to shiver and throb with light. And the art world was fascinated. In 1965, his work was included in more than a dozen solo and group shows around the US. One of his paintings was even reproduced in an advertisement for sunglasses in The New York Times: an indication of the degree to which he had seized the imagination of New York art circles. He achieved national attention as part of a huge exhibition mounted at the Museum of Modern Art that year called “The Responsive Eye” – a gathering of the work of 106 artists that announced the arrival of a new aesthetic. He continued to explore new ideas and optical effects throughout the 1980s and ‘90s, producing some of his most compelling canvases. In 1998, a retrospective exhibition covering 50 years of his work was jointly produced by the Butler Institute of American Art, the Columbus Museum of Art and the Josef Albers Museum in Germany. He was also a teacher, working at the Art Academy of Cincinnati (1957–64) and as Professor of Painting, at the Cleveland Institute of Art (1964-95). Since his retirement from teaching at the Cleveland Institute of Art, Julian has been consistent and devoted to his art form. In 2012 Bloomberg News and ranked Stanczak in sixth place on a list of the 15 hottest artists in the world. Steven Litt (CAP 2010), Art & Architecture Critic for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, writes “In recent years, Stanczak’s work has been rediscovered with a vengeance by galleries, museums and collectors. A wave of gallery and museum exhibitions, accompanied by lavishly illustrated catalogs, has led to a sharp increase in Stanczak’s prices.”

Cleveland Arts Prize