Richard Anuszkiewicz: Annual Editions

I sometimes refer to my painting as architectural, because I work out my plan, I work out my idea, and then I go about constructing the painting.”

In 1964, LIFE magazine featured the works of Richard Anuszkiewicz, and called him, “one of the new wizards of Op.”


Getting Started

Before the LIFE article, Op Art had puzzled many critics and art lovers, who were jarred by the sometimes disturbing and disorienting effects of the works. The work of Op Artists, like Seurat, Cezanne and Monet were more subtle than those of mid-twentieth century Op Artists like Anuszkiewicz and Josef Albers, his teacher at Yale.


Anuszkiewicz moved to New York in 1957, at the age of 27, after finishing his MFA at Yale. His training was classical and his early works were done in a variety of medium like oil, watercolor, gauche and ink. As Anuszkiewicz experimented with color and placement of color, his work evolved into the Op compositions that have defined his style for the past sixty years.


“”I sometimes refer to my painting as architectural,”  Anuszkiewicz said, “because I work out my plan, I work out my idea, and then I go about constructing the painting.” When he first arrived in New York, he worked at The Met and had enough of his art to show at galleries, but his bold, hard-edged paintings were rejected by Leo Castelli, Martha Jackson and other gallery owners.It was Karl Lunde, director of The Contemporaries Gallery on Madison Avenue, who finally gave Anuszkiewicz a solo show in 1960.


Not a single painting was sold, until the Saturday morning before the show closed, when Alfred Barr, MoMA’s first director, bought a painting for the museum’s permanent collection. Other collectors, like New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller and author James Michener, followed Barr’s lead and, gradually, Anuszkiewicz became, “one of the new wizards of Op.”


Richard Anuszkiewicz: Annual Editions

In 1965, MoMA used Anuszkiewicz’ Christmas Star for their Annual Edition holiday card design. After the MoMA Christmas Star design, Anuszkiewicz designed cards every year for his friends. He made them in limited editions, not for the commercial art market, and they have been coming up for sale as their recipients have died and the cards have become part of their estates.


Richard Anuszkiewicz Annual Editions at VFA

The 1990 Annual Edition, one of the rare black and white designs, was signed for Anuszkiewicz’ attorney, Marty and his wife, Roz and is available at VFA. Each Annual Edition is an example of the way Anuszkiewicz continues to use sharp lines and color to create his bold designs.

Please contact us for more information about the Annual Editions for sale at VFA.

February 13, 2018
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