March 26, 2017
It is with great sadness that I share the news of the passing of Faculty Emeritus Julian Stanczak, who so many of us knew, loved and were inspired by. Julian was a 1954 graduate of CIA who went on to study at Yale University with Josef Albers. He earned his master’s degree at Yale, and returned to Cleveland, where he taught for more than 40 years. He retired from CIA in 1995, though he remained active in painting and exhibiting his work until very recently.
Julian and Barbara, also a beloved long-time faculty member of CIA, started a family in Cleveland, and together, they built a life around art and artists.
Julian made a tremendous contribution to contemporary art and specifically to perceptual art, or what—against his wishes—became popularly known as Op Art. He had an uncanny ability to move his passionate curiosities regarding the language of color through the filter of his own intellect to produce canvases that create a direct emotional experience for the viewer. It was a new geography that he recreated on those two-dimensional surfaces. And as important as he was to painting, Julian was crucial to generations of artists who learned from him, both as his students and as his colleagues. To spend time with him was to understand what it meant to be totally committed to visual expression. Students often recall him as a strict teacher with high standards who propelled them to new ways of thinking about their work and where they could take it.
Julian was awarded a CIA Award of Excellence, and in 2004 received the Schreckengost Award, which the college bestows in recognition of excellence in teaching. He won the Cleveland Arts Prize in 1969, and was a Cleveland Arts Prize Special Honoree in 2015.
Funeral arrangements are in care of Ferfolia Funeral Home in Aurora. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate contributions in memory of Julian to the Julian Stanczak ’54 Scholarship Fund, Cleveland Institute of Art, 11610 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH 44106. Donations can be made online and noting the scholarship in the comment section.
As we extend our condolences to Barbara and their family, we also take time now to consider how very fortunate we have been to share in Julian’s extraordinary life.
Grafton J. Nunes
President + CEO
Cleveland Institute of Art
To nurture the intellectual, artistic, and professional development of students and community members through rigorous visual arts and design education.
To advance culture, community, and global quality of life.