Stanley Bielecky

Theme/Style – Modernism, landscapes, townscapes, figurative work, still lifes

Media – Oil, watercolor, graphite, printmaking

Artistic Focus – Though he exhibited in California and New York, and made painting excursions to Mackinac Island, New Orleans, Arizona, and Mexico, Stanley Bielecky lived the majority of his life as an artist in the area of the U.S. in which he had grown up, becoming a well-known and highly regarded painter and teacher in the cities and towns of northwest Indiana. And indeed, Bielecky’s artworks convey a deep familiarity with his subject matter, whether it is an East Chicago industrial scene, workers at their jobs, or a vibrant study of the rural countryside under a summer sky.

Career Highlights –

• Born in Berlin, Germany in 1903, Stanley Bielecky came to the U.S. at the age of three, and the family eventually settled in East Chicago, Indiana.
• Bielecky was awarded the Edward M. Johnson Art Scholarship from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, where he studied from 1930 to 1934, after which he pursued graduate work at the Art Institute of Chicago.
• Two of Bielecky’s prints were included in the Seventh Annual Exhibition of American Block Prints at the Wichita Art Association in Kansas in 1934; and in the summer of 1935 he had a one-man show of oil paintings and watercolors at the Hoosier Salon, where he would continue to exhibit throughout the 1930s in the Salon’s showings at Marshall Field’s gallery in Chicago.
• Bielecky began exhibiting in the East Chicago, Indiana area in the mid-1930s and continued to work and exhibit there throughout his career. He also began teaching art, as supervisor of art classes in the community, as well as working as an instructor for WPA art classes.
• From the mid 1930s through the 1950s, Bielecky exhibited often in the Art Institute of Chicago’s Annual Exhibition by Artists of Chicago and Vicinity.
• In the summer of 1937, Bielecky took a painting trip to Mexico with fellow artist Robert Thomas; and on his return to Indiana he began lecturing on art at the Calumet Center of Indiana University’s Extension division in East Chicago.
• In 1938 Bielecky was awarded a Resident Fellowship to the Tiffany Foundation in New York, and was included in the foundation members’ exhibition at the city’s Fine Arts Building.
• Bielecky was included in an exhibition of Indiana artists at the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis in 1939, where he won Honorable Mention for his painting “The Workmen.”
• Bielecky was included in shows at the San Francisco Museum of Art in 1938 and 1939, and during the early 1940s he also exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Delgado Museum in New Orleans, the Toledo Museum of Art, the Grand Central Galleries in New York, and other venues.
• Bielecky spent summers painting on Mackinac Island, Michigan, working as a bartender and carriage driver to support himself. Hoping to create an art colony on the island, he was to become a key figure in the area’s art community, co-founding and directing the Mackinac Island Summer School of Art in 1940 and 1941. With the start of World War II, the school closed; but Bielecky’s Mackinac Island paintings still hang in the Richard & Jane Manoogian Art Museum there.
• In 1941, Bielecky became a fine arts instructor at Indiana’s Valparaiso University, and was awarded the Maxon Prize by the Detroit Institute of Arts for his “Mackinac Street Scene.”
• From 1942 to 1945 Bielecky served in the U.S. Army as a camoufleur, returning to his position at Valparaiso University afterwards, where he was to remain as an instructor until 1957, painting from his studio in East Chicago and making painting trips to New Orleans and Arizona.
• Bielecky exhibited his paintings, drawings and watercolors of Indiana, Mackinac Island, New Orleans, and the American west until the early 1970s, and he passed away in 1985.