- Full Description
Stanislav Szukalski (1893–1987) was a Polish-born sculptor, writer and graphic artist. Highly regarded in both the US and Poland between the World Wars, he lapsed into obscurity until comic art collector Glenn Bray rediscovered him in 1973. Behold!!! The Protong, first published by Bray in 1980, was the first book in 50 years to bring Szukalski’s work to the American public. It is a modest selection from the thousands of drawings, including some from The Work of Szukalski (Covici-McGee, 1923) and Projects in Design (University of Chicago Press, 1929), which show the young Szukalski’s strength as artist-sculptor.
Poland declared Szukalski the country’s greatest living artist in 1935. The government gave him a studio, the largest in Warsaw, and proclaimed it the Szukalski National Museum. It contained many of his intricate paintings and massive sculptures, notable for their dramatic mythological imagery; Szukalski had brought much of his lifetime work with him to Poland.
During the seige of Warsaw by the German army in September 1939, Szukalski was hurt in the initial bombing attack on Warsaw, which destroyed much of his studio. With two suitcases, Szukalski and his wife took refuge in the US embassy, since both were American citizens. By early November they were among about 100 Americans remaining in Warsaw. The two eventually escaped from Poland and were able to make their way back to the United States.
Szukalski had come to Poland with all his unsold works, encouraged by the prospect of building a museum devoted to his art; he left almost all of his work in Poland. Most of what had not been lost in the bombing attacks was destroyed by the occupying Germans.
This Polish sculptor and artist was extremely popular in his native country in the 1930s, doing absolutely incredible life-sized statues for public squares, great buildings and exhibits. But when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939, nearly all of his public work were destroyed for being non-Aryan.
For forty years, Szukalski had developed his all-encompassing science “Zermatism” about the origin of Man, laid down in 39 heavily illustrated volumes with subjects such as “Universal Pictography,” “The Flood Scumline,” and “Anthropolitical Motivations.” The work sets out to prove, among much else, that “Man-apes” make bad politicians, and that all Humanity stemmed from Easter Island, sharing a common protolanguage, “Protong” (bearing a striking resemblance to present-day Polish).
When Glenn Bray found him, he was living and working in “America’s Cultural Siberia” (Southern California). Artists like Robert Williams were immediately drawn to this "mad" genius and his incredible work. Two books were published in those times but allowed to drop out of print since then.
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio recently produced a new documentary film on this amazing artist: "Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski", which aired on Netflix in December, 2018. Now we are treated to a new edition of this long-out-of-print collection.
Collector and publisher Glenn Bray (The Blighted Eye, The Original Art of Basil Wolverton), befriended Szukalski at the very end of his long life, and helped to publicize his work, bringing it to the attention of comic fans and artists, many of whom became big admirers, such as outsider artist Robert Williams, who provides the introduction here. There is also an obituary by Ray Zone from 1987, and essays by the artist himself, including his "Art and Justice."
- Additional Information
Item Code BEHOH Publisher Last Gasp Publish Date 2019 ISBN 9780867198768 Binding Hard Cover - No Dustjacket Dimensions 9x11 # Pages 160pg Color Text/Partial Color
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