"The Tower" by Stanley Bielecky
(German - American, 1903 - 1985)
Watercolor & gouache, 11 x 15 inches (sight), 19 ½ x 23 ½ inches (frame), estate stamp.
Stanley Bielecky came to the United States with his family from Germany when he was three years old, moving first to Johnstown, PA, then to East Chicago, IN. Although his family encouraged his early interest in sketching, they could not afford formal art training on a machinist's wages with a total of eight children. He was able to pursue his studies by winning competitions and earning scholarships. His sister remembers his taking the bus to Chicago to attend classes at the Art Institute. His first formal training came at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, which he attended on a scholarship from 1930 to 1934. Upon graduation, he took further courses at the Chicago Art Institute until 1937. In 1938 he was awarded a Resident Fellowship to the Tiffany Foundation in New York. He has received awards from the Detroit Museum of Art and the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis. Two of his more notable instructors were George Oberteuffer and Louis Ritman. His greatest desire was to paint and he struggled during the Depression to pursue his goal. Always frugal, Bielecky worked as a bartender or carriage driver during summers on Mackinac Island in order to paint in the area. Jobs in commercial art made life easier for him until he was able to find work in the academic field. From 1937 to 1941, Bielecky was an instructor at the Calument Center of Indiana University in East Chicago. He was also co-founder and director of the Mackinac Island Summer School of Art. During this time, he actively exhibited his work across the country. His work was shown in 1938 and 1939 at the San Francisco Museum of Art, at the Detroit Institute of Arts where he won the Marjorie Beth Maxon Prize, and at the John Herron Art Museum where he won honorable mention in 1939. His work has been shown at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Art Institute of Chicago, Grand Central Galleries (New York), Albright Art Gallery, Toledo Museum of Fine Art, and many other distinguished museums and galleries. Bielecky became an instructor in fine arts at Valparaiso University in 1941. From 1942 to 1945, he served in the U.S. Army's 850th Engineer Battalion, then resumed his teaching position after the war. During the late 1940s and 1950s, Bielecky taught three days a week and maintained a studio in East Chicago, Indiana for his own painting. He continued to teach at Valparaiso until 1957, and painted and exhibited nationally until the early 1970s when poor health forced him to retire. Bielecky's paintings depict familiar scenes of his life in the East Chicago area, and two of his favorite haunts, Mackinac Island and New Orleans. A painter of the American scene, he reveled in painting his fellow Americans having a good time or straining at their jobs. Bielecky succeeded in giving animation and color to the power and strength of the great modern machine and to men and women who were the backbone of our society. He was a man of the people---an average man from humble origins with a fine and wonderful talent that he labored to refine and share with us.
Comprehensive biographical information about the artist available upon request