Richard Anuszkiewicz: Op Art, Science and Psychology

The works of Richard Anuszkiewicz have exceeded, and in some cases almost doubled, the high end expected  asking price at auction. Anuszkiewicz's works are owned by about one hundred public institutions and many private and corporate collections in the United States and around the world.

Color is my subject matter and its performance is my painting. I've taken color a step further than it had been taken by the Impressionists and the Neo-Impressionists.''

Op Art, Science and Psychology

The study of visual perception dates back to ancient Greece, with scholars like Euclid and Aristotle trying to determine how vision is carried out. Leonardo da Vinci is thought to be the first to recognize that the eye is capable of clear vision at the line of sight but that peripheral and foveal vision also exists. Even Sir Isaac Newton and John Locke tried, in the eighteenth century to figure out how and why we perceive things the way we do. In the 1930s Gestalt psychologists began to study the way in which we perceive visual patterns and how we organize, with our minds, what we see with our eyes.


Enter Richard Anuszkiewicz

After graduating with A BFA from the Cleveland Art Institute with a four year scholarship, Anuszkiewicz won a Pulitzer traveling fellowship. His early work, like Green Door, attests to his talent as an artist, but it wasn't until he used the Pulitzer to study at Yale with Josef Albers, that he began to make sense of the use of color in his work. Ironically, it was after he left Yale, and Albers, that he abandoned realism and focused on color.


"My thesis in graduate school at Yale dealt with the creation of space with line drawing," Anuszkiewicz said in a New York Times interview. "I explored how the line can be used to create space, and I still do that.''


His 1954 Self Portrait marked his transition from realism to his work with line and color.

When Anuszkiewicz moved to New York in 1957, there were few gallery owners who would take a chance on showing his work, which was a radical departure from the Abstract Expressionist paintings in vogue at the time.


He finally got a solo show at The Contemporaries Gallery, but did not make a single sale in the first two weeks of the show. It wasn't until just before the show closed, that Alfred H. Barr, MoMA's first director, bought one of Anuszkiewicz's paintings for the museum. That purchase provided the impetus for other collectors to begin purchasing Anuszkiewicz's works.


The Understanding of Op Art

It was the work of Richard Anuszkiewicz that has given the world a better understanding of how color works and an understanding of the visual complexities of space, line and color. "Color is my subject matter and its performance is my painting," said Anuszkiewicz. "I've taken color a step further than it had been taken by the Impressionists and the Neo-Impressionists.''

It is thanks to Richard Anuszkiewicz that we have a better understanding of the impact of color and line in a work of art, and that we can appreciate, accept and enjoy Op Art.


The Work of Richard Anuszkiewicz for Sale at VFA

The works of Richard Anuszkiewicz, at VFA, span a period of nearly fifty years. Please contact us for more information about the works of Richard Anuszkiewicz or any of the other many fine artists whose work is for sale in the VFA gallery.

July 5, 2017
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