Anuszkiewicz, American (1930- )
A student of Josef Albers, he shares Albers' fascination with
shapes and their relationships to color. Considered a major
force in the op art movement, Anuszkiewicz is concerned with
the optical changes that occur when different high-intensity
colors are applied to the same geometric configurations. Each
of his prints has its own rhythm and, therefore, its own energy
as part of a lyrical composition. He has won many awards and
has been a frequent exhibitor in museums throughout the world.
His work is included in the collections of the Corcoran Gallery
of Art in Washington, D.C., the Fogg Museum of Harvard University
in Cambridge, and the Whitney Museum of American Art and the
Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Born in 1930 in Erie, Pennsylvania, Richard
Anuszkiewicz grew to love painting at a very early age. He developed
his education at various colleges including a B.F.A.
from the Cleveland Institute of Art, a M.F.A from Yale University,
studying under the highly influential color theorist Josef Albers,
and finally a Bachelor of Science degree from Kent State University
In 1957 he moved to New York City where he soon received critical
success in various one-man exhibitions as well as acquisitions
by the Museum of Modern Art and inclusion in the Whitney Museum
of American Art Annual Exhibition in
1963. By 1965 Anuszkiewicz had firmly established himself as
the Optical art movement leader by his inclusion in an historically
important exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, The Responsive
Op-art refers to the idea of" optical illusion" or
of creating the illusion of movement. "Op art is direct
and requires little previous knowledge of art. Children, as
Anuszkiewicz has noted, delight in it. Other viewers are aware
of formal structure, relationships, and complexities but are
just as delighted. This art appeals on as many levels as there
are levels of awareness and experience."
Working diligently from his Englewood, New Jersey studio, Richard
Anuszkiewicz has "expanded his art so that it no longer
fits any recognized category. Because of the mathematical precision
of his working methods and formats and his long-standing preoccupation
with the psychology and physiology of visual perception, Anuszkiewicz
has been labeled a 'scientific' painter... However, critics
have discovered the highly individual cadence of music and poetry
and hints of the seasons and atmosphere, of sunrise, twilight,
"Color is at once the most striking aspect of Richard Anuszkiewicz's
art and the most profound, often forming the basis for his compositions.
'Color function becomes my subject matter,' he has said, 'and
its performance is my painting.' A major contemporary artist,
Anuszkiewicz has long been noted for the cool geometry of his
compositions, his impeccable technique, and, above all, the
luminous evocative shimmer of his colors."
As a result of a one-man show at The Contemporaries in New York City in 1960, the Museum of Modern Art bought two of his paintings, and he was off and running. More than 100 solo shows and representation in almost three times that many group exhibitions followed. Anuszkiewicz’s work is owned by close to 100 public, and countless private and corporate, collections in the U.S. and abroad; he has executed nearly a dozen large murals and public art commissions and received several prestigious awards.
It was not until Anuszkiewicz, who was born in Erie, Pennsylvania, in 1930, returned to the Midwest to take a degree in education at Kent State University (where he later taught) that he really began the experiments “with full-intensity complementary colors—blues on reds, greens on reds” that set him on his own groundbreaking path.
In 1964, Life magazine called him "The New Wizard of Op." More recently, while reflecting on a New York City gallery show of Anuszkiewicz's from 2000, the New York Times art critic Holland Cotter described Anuszkiewicz's paintings by stating, "The drama -- and that feels like the right word -- is in the subtle chemistry of complementary colors, which makes the geometry glow as if light were leaking out from behind it." Anuszkiewicz has exhibited at the Venice Biennale, Florence Biennale and Documenta, and his works are in permanent collections internationally.