Stanislav Szukalski was born in Warta, Poland on December 13, 1893. When he was six years old, a teacher sent him to the headmaster's office for whittling a pencil. The headmaster examined the pencil more closely and discovered that young Stanislav had carved a tiny, near-perfect figure. Instead of punishing him, he called the local newspaper, which did a feature on the art prodigy.

In his teens, Szukalski moved to the United States and became a member of the Chicago Renaissance along with Ben Hecht, Carl Sandburg, and Clarence Darrow. Two large monographs were published during those years, The Work of Szukalski and Projects in Design.

As a celebrated prodigal son to be given his own museum by the Polish government, Szukalski returned home with all his belongings, but the 1939 Siege of Warsaw cut his work short. He managed to escape to California with his wife, Joan Donovan, but his entire life's work was lost, either bombed or stolen during the War.

In 1971 his work and existence were rediscovered by Glenn Bray, who became his patron and who later issued two other publications, Troughful of Pearls and Inner Portraits. He worked with fierce and single-minded devotion, obsessively writing and creating art meant to prove a theory that all human culture derived from a single origin on Easter Island after the biblical Deluge of Noah.

At 93, Szukalski was still tremendously vital. He possessed an uncommon clarity of mind which age did nothing to obscure. He lived contently alone, walked considerable distances every day for exercise, and managed his own affairs. He subsisted on a diet of Cornflakes and water, and yet maintained such muscular strength that his arm felt like a piece of steel drainpipe. Szukalski died in Burbank, California on May 19th, 1987. A year later his and his wife's ashes were scattered at Rano Raraku, the stone quarry on Easter Island where most of the Moai originated. All of Szukalski's work is preserved by Archives Szukalski.







Szukalski Archive
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