Julian Stanczak (American, b. November 5, 1928) is an American painter and printmaker. He was born in Borownica, Poland. When World War II broke out, he was sent to a concentration camp in Perm, Siberia. Stanczak had been right-handed before he lost the use of his right arm for good at the camp. In 1942, after successfully escaping from the camp, Stanczak joined the Polish army-in-exile in Persia but soon deserted from it. After that, the artist spent his time in a Polish refugee camp in Uganda, Africa. This was where Stanczak learned to write and paint with his left hand, and where he took his first private art lessons. He then went to Borough Polytechnic Institute in London before immigrating to the United States in 1950. Four years after his immigration, Stanczak received his BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art. In 1956, Stanczak became a United States citizen. It was also in 1956 that he received his MFA from Yale University under the training of Josef Albers (German-born American, 1888–1976) and Conrad Marca Relli (American, 1913–2000).

Stanczak's first major solo exhibition took place at the Martha Jackson Gallery in New York. Julian Stanczak: Optical Paintings was named after the Op Art movement. His work was also exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art's 1965 exhibition The Responsive Eye . In the early 1960s, Stanczak took advantage of the use of wavy lines and contrasting colors to make the surface plane of his works more vibrant. The work Provocative Current (1965) is a notable example of this unique style. This style of painting also paved the way for more complex artworks constructed with the rigidity of different geometrical shapes; however, it maintained the softness with many levels of color transparency. Netted Green (1972) is a famous work representing this style. Stanczak uses the same form again and again to produce compositions that reflect his visual experiences. His works are mainly based on the structures of color. In the 1980s and 1990s, Stanczak kept the geometric formation in mind, and produced bright-colored or muted-colored paintings often as pieces in a series such as Soft Continuum (1981).

More recently, Stanczak has been setting up major series involving square panels with various hue and chroma in order to create an advance in color illusions. An amazing example of this would be the series Windows to the Past (2000). In 1970, Stanczak was recognized as "Outstanding American Educator" by the Educators of America. He currently lives and works in Seven Hills, OH, with his wife, the sculptor Barbara M. Meerpohl.


Borough Polytechnic Institute, London, England
BFA, Cleveland Institute of Art
MFA, Yale University, studying with Josef Albers and Conrad Marca Relli


Nancy Margolis Gallery, Group Show, New York, NY
Op Out of Ohio: Anonima Group, Richard Anuszkiewicz and Julian Stanczak in the 1960s, D. Wigmore Fine Art, Inc., New York, NY
The Responsive Mind, Madron Gallery, Chicago, IL
In Honor of the Cleveland Arts Prize, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
Julian Stanczak: Color • Grid, Danese, New York, NY (solo)
Julian Stanczak: Recent Work, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, Ohio (solo)
Julian Stanczak: The World of Op Art. CB Collection Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
Modern and Contemporary Art at Dartmouth: Highlights from the Hood Museum, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH
Op Art Revisited, Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, New York
Pop and Op, Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, New York
Danese, New York, NY (solo)
Julian Stanczak, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cincinnati, Ohio (solo)
Optic Nerve: Perceptual Art of the 1960s, Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio
The Optical Edge, Pratt Institute of Art, New York, New York
Op Art Revisited-Selections from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, California
Julian Stanczak: Master of Op Art, Eckert Fine Art, Naples, Florida (solo)
Julian Stanczak: Constellation Series Paintings, Miami University Art Museum, Oxford, Ohio (solo)
Intersecting Pathways: Julian and Barbara Stanczak, Wisconsin Union Galleries, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin (solo)
Julian Stanczak: Forty Years of Painting, McClain Fine Art, Houston, Texas (solo)
Julian Stanczak: A Retrospective 1948-1998, Springfield Museum of Art, Springfield, Ohio (solo)

Public Collections

Ball State University Museum of Art, Muncie, IN
Baum Gallery of Art, University of Central Arkansas, Conway, AK
Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL
Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, FL
Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA
Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH
Canton Museum of Art, Canton, OH
Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, Stanford, CA
Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA
Centrum Sztuki Studio im Stanislawa I. Witkiewicza, Warsaw, Poland
Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
Akron Art Museum, Akron, OH Allentown Museum of Art, Allentown, PA
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY