The remarkable and colourful life of an artist who was the inspiration behind the Mid Wales Arts Centre will be celebrated in a new exhibition.

The centenary exhibition of international artist Stefan Knapp opened on Thursday (August 5) in the Caersws sculpture and gallery park's brand-new art shed.

His widow Cathy Knapp-Evans said: "His irrepressible urge to express his ideas and feelings through art were heightened not only by his acute experiences of man’s inhumanity to man and his sensitivity to the ebbs and flows within society, politics and culture but by his responses to nature and fascination for new technology.

"I cannot think of any other 20th century artist, as the century draws to a close, whose life and work embodies so completely the times in which he lived”

County Times: Cathy Knapp-EvansCathy Knapp-Evans

Born in a small country town in south-eastern Poland in 1921, Knapp is best known for his vibrant enamel murals which can be seen in many museums and public buildings throughout the world. He was the first artist to experiment with enamel on steel, especially on a large scale.

At just 18 years old Knapp endured three years in a Siberian labour camp and later trained to be a Spitfire pilot in the Polish RAF and enrolled at Central School of Art in post war London where he won prestigious commissions for John Lewis and Bentalls. His spherical lampshade featured in Vogue and Cyril Lord paid him £1,000 for the patent which gave him the security to devote himself to painting.

In 1958 Stefan was one of four artists commissioned by Mies Van der Rohe and Philip Johnson to create large scale work for New York’s iconic Seagram building along with Picasso, Miro and Bertoia.

A Mid Wales Arts Centre spokesperson said: "Always an individual, true to his understanding of the depth of human nature and the natural world he continued to develop, codify and translate his impressions into forms and symbols that re-emerge throughout his work. He would start with a sketch, then draw in detail, his symbolism translated into paintings, an enamels and sculpture.

"He led a colourful life during an exciting time in Art History, he died in 1996 days after the reinstatement of one of his Heathrow murals in the Terminal Four transit building designed by Sir Richard Rogers.

"His huge imagination, energy and capacity for work led to a flood of commissions, from all over the world."

The new exhibition runs from Thursday to Sunday between 10am to 4pm until late October. Free entry and no advanced booking is needed.