Alina Szapocznikow

* 16.05.1926 (Kalisz) 02.031973 (Praz - Coutant France) Poland
Fields of activity: sculpture, drawing, photography
Author: Małgorzata Druri

Why do I consider this woman as an important person?

Alina Szapocznikow was one of most original contemporary artists and very brave woman.

She created own, sensual language, inspired of human body.

Fighting against a sever illness she realized sculptures recording both the beauty of female body and the suffering resulting from degradation and the impact of the biology of life.

She experimented with new materials and technologies.

Her sculptures “Articles of common consumption” are ironic protest against treating female body as objects.


Alina Szapocznikow was born 16 of Mai 1926 in Kalisz to Jewish doctors.

During World War II she was imprisoned in Ghettos in Łódż and Pabianice, where she

worked as nurse, after in German Nazi concentration camps in Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen

and Therezin.

Having survived the horror of the Holocaust, in 1947 Alina started studies in Prague

at the Artistic Industrial College and in studio of sculptur Otokar Welimski.

In 1948 thanks to scholarship, she could to study in Paris at Ecole Nationale Superieur des

Beaux Arts in atelier of Paul Niclausse.

There she met modern artists as Jean Arp, Henry Moore, and Alberto Giacometti.

In 1951 she was diagnosed tuberculosis and returned to Poland.

Alina was a wife of Ryszard Stanisławski, art historian and director of the Museum of

Modern Art in Łódż. She adopted a son Piotr.

In spite of illness Szapocznikow participated extensively in the Polish artistic life.

She took part in numerous competitions for monuments: Victims of Auschwitz, Warsaw Heros, Polish-Soviet Friendship, poet Juliusz Słowacki.

Szapocznikow was very modern and creative in her work. She worked with bronz, stone and used technical innovations, new materials as plastic, polyurethane, polyester.

The most important source of her inspiration was her body, destroyed by disease.

In 1963 she moved to Paris, where she got married graphic Roman Cieślewicz.

In 1968 Alina was diagnosed with breast cancer and she started to make dramatic

:Tumor” sculptures.

Alina Szapocznikow used experience her own body and personal pain to creating great art showing female beauty and drama of passing.

She died 2 of March in Praz-Coutant in France.


  • Agata Jakubowska "Portret wielokrotny dzieł Aliny Szapocznikow" Wydawnictwo Naukowe UAM, Poznań 2007

  • Alina Szapocznikow i Ryszard Stanisławski"Kroją mi się piękne sprawy Listy 1948-1971”Wydawnictwo Karakter 2012

Links: (avaible 11.03.2014) (avaible 11.03.14)