The Woodward Alumni Hall of Fame Association
Lucian Lupinski Inducted 1987 - Class of 1936
Lucian Lupinski is not - at least, not yet - a household name a la Norman Rockwell, but he has won an international reputation for his work that appears in the same medium in which Rockwell won his fame - the covers of the Saturday Evening Post. At the SEP offices in Indianapolis, where he has been artist-in-residence since 1973, he is known as "our new Norman Rockwell."
Whereas Rockwell was a folk artist, Mr. Lupinski is a portraitist. It is possible that his work is viewed by more people than that of any other portrait artist. It is likely that no other portrait artist has painted so many of the top names in entertainment, politics, business and world affairs. Among those who have graced the covers of the Saturday Evening Post via Mr. Lupinski's portraits have been subjects as diverse as President Ronald Reagan and Bill Cosby, Nancy Reagan and Princess Diana, Lee Iacocca and Pope John Paul II, Elvis Presley and Billy Graham, Sandra Day O'Connor and Nelson Bunker Hunt, Oral Roberts and Carol Burnett, Jeane Kirkpatrick and Bob Hope, Paul Harvey and Barbara Mandrell, John Wayne and Angela Lansbury.
And Norman Rockwell, himself. And many, many others. Their praise of Mr.Lupinski and his work has been unanimous.
Lucian Lupinski was born, in Herkimer, N. Y., and grew up in Toledo, in the family home above Lupinskl's Bar at Lagrange and Park streets. His interest in art started at a young age, and his talent was recognized early. He was 12 when he was accepted as a student by Theodore Keane, the leading Toledo art teacher. At Woodward High School, he was a student four years in the art classes taught by June Anderson. In his youth, he worked part-time as an illustrator for The Blade.
When he entered Woodward, he weighed over 200 pounds and could run the 100 in 11 seconds, a couple of statistics that naturally caught the attention of football coach Rollie Bevan. But Lucian's mother, determined not to allow football to imperil her son's career in art, ordered him to give up thoughts of football, much to the dismay of Bevan. Instead, young Lupinski went out for the field events on the track team and ran up an outstanding winning record in the discus and javelin, perhaps, he says, "because those events are so well represented in Greek art." Of Homer Hanham and Art Smith Woodward’s track coaches then, he has this to say: "Those two were very important to me in my growing up."
In his brief athletic career at Ohio State University, Lucian broke the Big Ten discus record with a throw exceeding 184 feet. But the throw was made in practice, and thus was unofficial and ineligible for the record books. Sports continues to be among his hobbies. He regards physical fitness as vital to the artist. "Serious art is very frustrating, and you have to be physically able to withstand the pressure," he has been quoted as saying.
Another of his hobbies is painting to music. He has put to canvas his impressions of such classical works as Berlioz's "Symphonie Fantistique" and Rimsky-Korsakov's "Capriccio Espagnol."
Mr. Lupinski graduated from Woodward in 1936 and went on to study art in New York and Chicago, all the while doing illustrations and paintings as he polished his skills. When he joined the staff of the Saturday Evening Post, it was after an extensive career as an advertising and magazine illustrator and mural painter as well as a portrait artist. He works in a variety of media including oils, acrylics, watercolors, pencil, pastels, litho and tri-tech, and he has won awards in all of them; at last count, the prizes his paintings have won numbered 133. Lupinski paintings hang in museums, private collections, boardrooms, public buildings world-wide; there's even one in Moscow. He has done murals for churches and convention centers and such industry headquarters as United Air Lines and U. S. Rubber. He has designed and illustrated children's books and worked on book covers for the United States government.
He has given lectures and conducted workshops before art groups and at universities throughout the United States. He has participated in more than 300 exhibits around the world. His views on art are included in at least one college textbook. When he lived in Illinois before settling in Indianapolis, he was active in art administration, including serving two terms as president of the Illinois Art League.
His work for the Saturday Evening Post requires him to take to the road often, a fact which creates some problems in that Mr. Lupinski refuses to fly and all the travel has to be surface travel. Already this year he has gone to Hawaii to do Tom Selleck (March cover) and returned to the States to do Diane Sawyer (April cover) and Vanna White. Then it was on to Princeton, N. J., and actress Brooke Shields, a Princeton University student. Of the many honors Mr. Lupinski has received, one that he considers a highlight of his career was the conferral of the title Sagamore of the Wabash upon him last February by the governor of Indiana, Robert D. Orr. The honor, the highest the state of Indiana can bestow, is seldom given to an artist, but in this case was presented to "Lucian Lupinski, master artist, distinguished by his humanity in living . . . The title was conferred at a ceremony at which the official state portrait of Governor Orr, painted by Mr. Lupinski, was unveiled. The portrait will go on permanent display in the Governors' Portrait Collection in the Indiana state capitol.
Mr. Lupinski and the former Rosemary Ann Boecher were married in 1955 and are the parents of a son, Lucian William, a graduate of Indiana University. Mrs. Lupinski was a Chicago fashion artist and the daughter of Edward Boecher, one of the nation's leading watercolorists, and Mr. Lupinski had a studio in Chicago at the time and had been befriended by Mr. Boecher. Some of Mr. Lupinski's paintings are signed with a capital L followed by three sizable dots, which stand for him, his wife, and their son.