31 Days of Halloween: Day 8: Beksinski

By Teah Teriele — / Death Wish Coffee Blog

Welcome to 31 days of Halloween! Since Halloween is our favorite month, we've decided to showcase some of our favorite art, products, and more. Usually when people go crazy about a Holiday a month in advance, it's excessive. Halloween is the exception.  

Zdzislaw Beksinski was a Polish painter, photographer and sculptor. His pieces are among the most beautiful and terrifying creations of all time.

1968, Oil on hardboard

Beksiński had no formal training as an artist. 

1970, Oil on hardboard

His paintings were mainly created using oil paint on hardboard panels which he personally prepared, although he also experimented with acrylic paints.

1970, Oil on hardboard


In 1955, he completed his studies and return to Sanok, working as a construction site supervisor, but he hated that kind of work.

During this period, he also had an interest in montage photography, sculpting and painting. 

Oil on hardboard

His site materials plaster, metal and wire engaged in carving creation.

In the late 1960s, Beksiński entered what he himself called his "fantastic period", which lasted up to the mid-1980s. 

Oil on hardboard

This is his best-known period, during which he created very disturbing images, showing a surrealistic, post-apocalyptic environment with very detailed scenes of death, decay, landscapes filled with skeletons, deformed figures and deserts.

1982. oil on hardboard

In 1994, Beksiński explained "I'm going in the direction of a greater simplification of the background, and at the same time a considerable degree of deformation in the figures, which are being painted without what's known as naturalistic light and shadow. What I'm after is for it to be obvious at first sight that this is a painting I made".

1971, oil on hardboard

In the latter part of the 1990s, he discovered computers, the Internet, digital photography and photomanipulation.

The late 1990s were a very trying time for Beksiński. His wife, Zofia, died in 1998; a year later, on Christmas Eve 1999, his son committed suicide.

1977, oil on hardboard

Unable to come to terms with his son's death, he kept an envelope "For Tomek in case I kick the bucket" pinned to his wall.


1971, oil on hardboard

Although Beksiński's art was often grim, he himself was known to be a pleasant person who took enjoyment from conversation and had a keen sense of humor.


1972, oil on hardboard

He was modest and somewhat shy, avoiding public events such as the openings of his own exhibitions.


Beksiński avoided concrete analyses of the content of his work, saying "I cannot conceive of a sensible statement on painting". 

He was especially dismissive of those who sought or offered simple answers to what his work 'meant'.

On 21 February 2005, Beksiński was found dead in his flat in Warsaw with 17 stab wounds on his body.

1982, Oil on hardboard

Two of the wounds were determined to have been fatal.

1981, acrylic on hardboard

Robert Kupiec (the teenage son of his longtime caretaker), who later pleaded guilty, and a friend were arrested shortly after the crime.


1970, oil on hardboard


In short, Beksinski was murdered after not lending his killer the equivalent of $100.


To see more of Beksinksi's art, visit this gallery


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