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Julian Stanczak (November 5, 1928 – March 25, 2017); Polish-born American painter and printmaker. The artist lived and worked in Seven Hills, Ohio with his wife, the sculptor Barbara Stanczak.
Julian Stanczak was born in Borownica, Poland in 1928. At the beginning of World War II, Stanczak was forced into a Siberian labor camp, where he permanently lost the use of his right arm. He had been right-handed. In 1942, aged 13, he escaped from Siberia to join the Polish army-in-exile in Persia. After deserting from the army, he spent his teenage years in a hut in a Polish refugee camp in Uganda. In Africa, Stanczak learned to write and paint left-handed. He then spent some years in London, before moving to the United States in 1950. He settled in Cleveland, Ohio. He became a US citizen in 1957, taught at the Cincinnati Academy of Art for 7 years.
The Op Art movement was named after his first major show, Julian Stanczak: Optical Paintings, held at the Martha Jackson Gallery in New York in 1964.
In 2007, Stanczak was interviewed by Brian Sherwin for Myartspace. During the interview, Stanczak recalled his experiences with war and the loss of his right arm and how both influenced his art. Stanczak explained, "The transition from using my left hand as my right, main hand, was very difficult. My youthful experiences with the atrocities of the Second World War are with me, but I wanted to forget them and live a "normal" life and adapt into society more fully. In the search for Art, you have to separate what is emotional and what is logical. I did not want to be bombarded daily by the past,- I looked for anonymity of actions through non-referential, abstract art."
Stanczak received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland OH, in 1954, and then trained under Josef Albers and Conrad Marca-Relli at the Yale University, School of Art and Architecture where he received his Master of Fine Arts.