Richard Anuszkiewicz

American, b. 1930

Green and Blue at Midnight, acrylic on canvas, 1986, 30 x 24 inches


Richard Anuszkiewicz is both a scientific painter, and a poetic one. Though his pieces are founded in a rigid mathematical structure, he uses high intensity color to create a kind of geometric rhythm. Each piece has a lyrical energy to it, in addition to being rooted in method and psychological experience.

Anuszkiewicz was born in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1930. He received his B.FA. from the Cleveland Institute of Art and in 1953, he was awarded a Pulitzer Travelling Fellowship from the National Academy of Design. He then went on to get his M.F.A. from Yale University where he studied under Josef Albers, the wildly influential color theorist. Alber’s influence on Anuszkiewicz is obvious, in his fascination with color and geometry. Anuszkiewicz also received a Bachelor’s Degree of Science from Kent State University in Ohio.

For a time after that, Anuszkiewicz held a number of odd jobs, including working at Tiffany’s designing miniature silver animals, and at the Met, where he repaired scale models of Greek architecture and sculpture. His career then took off, and he went on to win numerous awards including the Charles of the Ritz Award, the Silvermine Guild award, the Cleveland Arts Prize, the Lee Krasner award, and a number of others. Anuszkiewicz’s work has been featured in over 300 group exhibitions, and he has had more than 100 solo shows in his career.

Anuszkiewicz became the leader of the Optical Art Movement, and was called by Life magazine, “The New Wizard of Op” in 1964.  He was included in the seminal 1965 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art called, “The Responsive Eye.” Anuszkiewicz explained op-art as being:

…direct. It requires little previous knowledge of art. Children 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. Color function becomes my subject matter, and its performance is my painting.
— "Anuszkiewicz" by Richard Anuszkiewicz and Karl Lunde, published by H. N. Abrams, New York, NY, 1977