Stanislav Szukalski was born in Warta, Poland on December 13, 1893. When he was only 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.
Szukalski came to the United States and lived in Chicago when he was in his teens. He became a member of the Chicago renaissance luminaries along with Ben Hecht, Carl Sandburg and Clarence Darrow. Two large monographs were published during those years, The Work of Szukalski (Covici-McGee, 1923) and Projects in Design (University of Chicago Press, 1929).
In the 1930's, as a celebrated prodigal son to be given his own museum by the Polish government, Szukalski returned to Poland with all his belongings, but his work was cut short by the Siege of Warsaw in 1939. He managed to escape to America to live in California with his wife, Joan Donovan, but his entire life's work was lost, either bombed or stolen during the War. Now living in total obscurity, he spent the rest of his life 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.
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 (Bray/Zwalve, 1980) and Inner Portraits (Bray/Zwalve, 1982). Szukalski died in Burbank, California on May 19th, 1987. A year later his and his wife's ashes were scattered at Rano Raraku, the sculptors' quarry on Easter Island by his close friends, some of them fellow artists, Glenn Bray and Lena Zwalve, Robert and Suzanne Williams, and Rick Griffin and Camille Houston.