September 11, 2009

By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Bucknell University welcomed the new school year with the unveiling of "Australia No. 13," a welded steel work by American sculptor Richard Stankiewicz donated to the University by the JP Morgan Chase Art Collection.

The sculpture is displayed on the second floor landing of the Elaine Langone Center at Bucknell.

"The landing is two stories tall and has long arched windows, which will provide changing daylight, which is terrific for sculpture," said Dan Mills, curator of the Samek Art Gallery at Bucknell.

"Unlike art made of other materials, there are no issues with it being exposed to direct sunlight. It is on the way to the Samek Art Gallery, and visible from above when departing the Samek.

"This gift, a fine and substantial work by an important 20th-century American sculptor, is being placed in a prominent space on campus so it may be appreciated by the University community.

"This is the most important sculpture to enter the collection in many years, and is one of the most important in the collection," he said, adding "the JP Morgan Chase Art Collection is the most prestigious corporate collection in the United States."

Prominent sculptor
Stankiewicz is considered one of the prominent American Modernist sculptors active in the mid-20th century. His estate is represented by the prestigious Zabriskie Gallery in New York.

The artist became known as early as the 1950s for welding junk metal into lively, humorous compositions that blurred the distinction between sculpture and assemblage, and incorporated a rich variety of influences, including African tribal sculpture, the collages of Picasso and Schwitters, and the work of his teachers.

Born in Philadelphia in 1922, Stankiewicz grew up in Detroit. He received training in mechanical drawing from 1936 to 1940, and began painting and making sculpture while serving in the Navy from 1941 to 1947. He studied with Hans Hofmann in New York during 1948-49, and spent 1950-51 in Paris studying in the Atelier Fernand Léger and with the sculptor Ossip Zadkine.

After returning to New York, Stankiewicz joined the artists' cooperative Hansa Gallery, organized by former students of Hans Hofmann. It was there that he exhibited his work during the 1950s, before moving to the Stable Gallery in 1959.

In 1962 he moved out of New York City to Huntington, Mass., where he continued to make sculptures and to be exhibited internationally until his death in 1983.

Sculptures by Richard Stankiewicz are included in major museum and private collections throughout the world including the Cleveland Museum of Art, Courtauld Institute in London, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Storm King Art Center in Mountainville, N.Y.

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