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Stefan Knapp

Born: 1921 died: 1996. Nationality: Polish.

Stefan Knapp was born in Bilgoraj in Poland; in 1939 he was arrested and interned in a labour camp in Siberia until 1942. Following his release he came to England where he joined the Royal Air Force and served as a Spitfire pilot until the end of the war. He took up art as a means of dealing with the trauma of his experiences prior to and during the war. His formal art training was carried out at St. Martin’s School of Arts and Crafts and the Slade School of Art.

In 1954 he had a successful solo exhibition at the Hanover Gallery in London and a further show in Paris the following year and New York in 1957. During the next decade he received numerous prestigious commissions for murals, including important works for Heathrow Airport, the Shell building and the Mies van der Rohe’s Seagram building in New York. International recognition grew rapidly as more successful one-man shows were mounted in significant venues abroad, including New York, Paris, Amsterdam, Milan, Caracas, Dusseldorf, Munich and Los Angeles.

For many of his major works his medium was fired enamel on steel sheet, a technique which he spent years researching and developing.

In 2011 the Stefan Knapp Project was launched at the Mid Wales Arts Centre which provides a setting for a permanent display of his work including large-scale outdoor sculptural pieces; there are also facilities for exhibitions of other artists’ work, workshops and various events to promote interest and participation in the visual arts.

For details of the Centre and a link to a comprehensive article about Knapp and his art go to Mid Wales Arts Centre 

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