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Julian Stanczak, known for Op art painting, dies at 88

Julian Stanczak, known for Op art painting, dies at 88
Julian Stanczak in front of his painting "Hot Seven" in his home studio in 2009. (Tracy Boulian / The Plain Dealer)

Julian Stanczak, an artist known worldwide for his brightly colored, geometric Op art, has died. He was 88.

Stanczak died March 25 at his home in the Cleveland suburb of Seven Hills, said Diane Rosenstein, whose Los Angeles-based gallery represented Stanczak. She said he died after a brief illness.

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The Polish-born artist's work is included in the collections of more than 80 museums. He became more widely known through the 1965 Museum of Modern Art exhibit "The Responsive Eye." He'd had his first major solo exhibition of his "Optical Paintings" the year before.

During World War II, Stanczak was sent to a concentration camp in Siberia. There, the right-handed Stanczak permanently lost the use of his right arm and had to become left-handed. After escaping from the camp, he joined the Polish army-in-exile in Iran, and then deserted.

He later spent time in a refugee camp in Uganda. He began taking private art lessons there and learned to paint with his left hand.

In 1950, he moved to Cleveland and found his artistic home.

He received his bachelor of fine arts degree at the Cleveland Institute of Art, where he later was a professor. His master's degree in fine arts came from Yale University.

Over the years, Stanczak's paintings have been included in museum collections across the United States and abroad.

He is survived by his wife, artist Barbara Meerpohl; a daughter, Danusia M. Casteel; and a son, Krzys M. Stanczak.

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