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 Andrew Richard Wielawski  (1955 - )

About: Andrew Richard Wielawski
 

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Lived/Active: New York / Italy      Known for: sculpture-marble figure

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Andrew Richard Wielawski
An example of work by Andrew Richard Wielawski
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following information was submitted by the artist:

Andrew Wielawski was born in New York City on the 29th of January, 1955, the youngest child in a family of Polish immigrants. His father, a psychiatrist from Krakow, was an honorary captain in the U.S medical corps, and his mother was a teacher from Novogrudek, now in Bielorussia. They met in 1946, while both were working for UNRA, an organization helping children in Germany and Eastern Europe after World War II. The couple emigrated to the United States, where his father, Dr. Jozef Wielawski, got a position in a rehabilitation home for such children just north of New York, in Westchester.

The new life lasted twenty years. Dr. Wielawski had suffered from a variety of diseases he had picked up while travelling in Persia, India, and China before the war, on a long voyage of research for a book he and his partner published in 1939. He died in 1968, when Andrew was thirteen. The family had lived well during the years of Dr. Wielawski's practice, but Leonarda found herself with three children and no job, and just enough money to finish paying for the house they had built. Andrew went to work after school at fourteen, at Billy Davit's Getty station in his home town, Bedford Hills.

Andrew went to college in Syracuse, where he continued his work on automobiles, though gradually becoming more and more a paint and body man. He focused his attention on line and detail. His scholastic focus was sculpture, and he spent many hours in the studios of the school. However, as it became dark, he'd wheel a wrecked car into the studio welding shop and go to work at his specialty.

In 1977, he graduated with honors and a perfect grade point average for one year due to a project he realized in Cape Cod, for credit at Syracuse. He rebuilt a summer cottage, sculpturally detailing every aspect of the construction, and faithfully documenting it. The cars and this project forecast what was to become his greatest strength during the period that followed.

He went to work as an apprentice to Bogdan Grom, a Trieste born sculptor with a studio in Englewood, New Jersey. For periods of time Grom was abroad, and during these months Andrew started to restore rarer, older sports cars. He worked on Triumphs, Jaguars, and Porsches, but also on Lotuses, Maseratis, Facel Vegas, Bristols...and a host of others. He bought a 1929 Singer leather sewing machine, and learned to make interiors.

By 1980 he'd restored seventy five cars, and opened his own shop - without a license, of course. In that year he received a visit from the State Police who looked inside the door of the building, with it's windows painted over, and saw the cars. One of them yelled,
"You can't work on cars in here! This area's zoned for farming !!!"

During the next year, Wielawski worked in New York creating an interior set for a fashion photographer, and then, distraught from a failed relationship with a woman, returned to his country home, packed his belongings, and moved to Pietrasanta, Italy near Carrara where famous sculptors Henry Moore, Isamu Noguchi, and Jacques Lipchitz had also lived.

A year passed, and the money was gone. He sold his car, got himself a small scooter, and began to work on cars again. In 1985, he sold his first sculpture, a moebius knot forming the base of a dining table. Times were tough, but getting better. By 1990, he'd sold twenty five of these dining table bases through galleries in Monte Carlo, Paris, Los Angeles, Florence, and New York. He was getting good money but was getting bored with constantly repeating the same design.

In 1987, he was hired by Miglin Beitler Associates of Chicago to realize a sculpture to thank Helmut Jahn for his Oak Brook Tower. (Mr. Miglin was later murdered by Andrew Cunanin, the same killer who shot Gianni Versace in Miami).

Then, in 1988, he got his first figurative commission, a life-size statue of 'Electra' for the entrance lobby of the Alabama Power Corporation. This was followed by several life size commissions as Mr. Wielawski began to become recognized for his statues. Most notable of these were two statues done for the Sforza family of Milan, direct descendants of the founders of the city and famous as patrons of Leonardo da Vinci.

In 1993, he started what was to become his first masterpiece, 'Arlechino, la Fin del Secolo', which took three years to make and sold in Europe. It is on display in the corporate headquarters entrance of the GEWISS company, in Cenate Sotto, Bergamo, Italy. His monumental two figure marble sculpture with mosaic drapery  of Amarilli and Corisca is on display at the Tharroe of Mykonos Hotel in Greece since 2007.

Mr. Wielawski's work revolves around the use of color to create moods that help a viewer to interpret correctly that which the artist tries to communicate.

"I've always found that marble statues are too white" says the artist, "It helps to have a bit of contrast to set off a harmony between the elements of a composition. Kind of like the use of spices in cooking. It's great when you know how much to use, and do not overdo it."

Wielawski currently lives and works in a rose covered stone house with its own studio. The property is set in the hills above Forte dei Marmi, just in front of Mont Altissimo, where one can still find the quarry opened by Michelangelo for the Medici of Florence.

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