Tadeusz Andrew Lapinski Biography

Tadeusz Andrew Lapinski




Tadeusz Andrzej Lapinksi was born on June 20, 1928 in Rawa Mazowiecka, Poland, named by his parents after the Polish war general and national hero Tadeusz Kosciuszko. An early interest in art was encouraged by his artist grandfather, however, life for his family was interrupted by World War II when Lapinski was still a child. During the Warsaw uprising in 1944, when the Germans leveled 95 percent of the city and killed thousands of civilians, Lapinski was wounded by shrapnel in his torso and a bullet in his leg. He was taken first to a hospital and then a concentration camp, but he and some friends escaped three days later. He was rescued by Polish peasants and nursed back to health. He was 16 years old.

Lapinski earned his MFA in 1955 from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, having studied painting under Artur Nacht-Samborski and graphic arts under Jozef Pakulski and Jozef Tom. He taught for a time with the Arts Club of Grodzisk Mazowiecki, but in 1963 left to travel the world.
He spent time in Yugoslavia, France, and Brazil, finally settling in the USA in the late 1960s. Among his most influential meetings during this period were with Andy Warhol and Mark Rothko, and in the late 1970s he met painter and textile artist Maria Aust, gra
nd-daughter of painter Jozef Chelmonski, whom he would later marry. He began teaching printmaking at the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1972, eventually becoming professor emeritus. In 1978 he was awarded a Kosciuszko Foundation Scholarship.

Lapinski’s great love was experimental lithography, of which he commented: "My art is manual plate lithography, using a light gum etch introduced to a sensitized metal plate." He developed a particular method of split-color printmaking that lent his works a "rainbow" effect (a style of printmaking now known in Polish as "rainbow prints"), an innovation that inspired many of his students. However, his printmaking methods began to take a toll as he incorporated new chemicals to his experiments. In a later interview, he said, "I build my patterns with a very mild dose of phosphoric acid and gum and I worked this way for 25 years and was never sick." He later began using benzene, often without adequate ventilation, leading to a near-fatal battle with aplastic anemia in 1976 that, after a lengthy stay in hospital, rendered him unable to do his own printing therafter.

He visited his native Poland often and maintained a cottage studio in Grodzisk Mazowiecki. He regularly exhibited at the Casimir Pulaski Museum beginning in 1997 and was awarded the title of Grodzisk Mazowiecki Honorary Citizen. In 2008, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland awarded him The Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis. In 2012, he received a Knight's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta. In 1981, Washington, D.C. mayor Marion Barry declared the 9th of Decemeber "Lapinski Day".

Tadeusz Lapinksi died in Florida on September 14, 2016.

Lapinski's work is held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Museum, Warsaw; the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Whitney Museum, Washington, D.C.; Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan; Central Institute of Art, Beijing, China; Albertina Museum, Vienna, Austria; National Library of France; Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, Turin, Italy; National Gallery of Canada; the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Miami Museum of Modern Art; University of Maryland Art Gallery; and the University of Arizona, among others. He exhibition throughout Europe, the US, Japan, China, Brazil, Canada, and elsewhere.

Selected awards and honors:
1960: First prizes at the First Biennale of Krakow, Poland and the International Biennal of Prints, Cincennati, Ohio, USA
1961: Prize of the Cincinnati Museum, Ohio, USA
1965: UNESCO International Prize, Paris, France
1968: First prize, Museum Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil
1969: Gold Medal, Biennale Lusanne, Switzerland
1972: Audubon Artists of Honor prize, New York, NY; First Prize - Highest Merit, Miniature Art Society, NJ
1972, '74, '75: Medal of Honor, Painter/Sculptors Society, NJ
1977: Grand Prize, Graphic International Festival, Vienna Austra
1980: Medal of Honor, City of Zamosc, Poland
1981: Lapinski Day,
proclaimed by Mayor M. Barry on December 9th, Washington, D.C.
1983: Medal of Honor, Andrelovac, Yugoslavia, Serbia; Man of Achievement, Maryland University
1985: World Prize for Statue of Victory '85, Calvatone, Italy
1987: Man of Achievement Award, International Biographical Center (IBC), Cambridge, England
1988: Who's Who in Society, Honor Award, USA
1990: American-Polish Arts Council (ACPC), Highest Merit Award; International Graphic Art Foundation, Merit Award, USA
1993: International Man of the Year 1992/1993, IBC, Cambridge, England
1997: Honorary Medal, Grodzisk Mazowiecki, Poland
2011: Honorary citizenship,
Grodzisk Mazowiecki