Beksinski’s body, which sustained multiple stab wounds, was found inside his Warsaw flat. Three days later, police charged two teenagers with the slaying. One suspect, the son of Beksinski’s friend and aide, confessed to killing the painter.
Born in Sanok, Poland, Beksinski studied architecture at the Cracow University of Technology. He soon developed a passion for artistic pursuits, such as painting, sculpting, photography and drawing. Working to the strains of classical music, Beksinski created intricately detailed pieces of surreal art.
Although he was often compared to Ernst Fuchs, the Austrian founder of a fantastic-realism school, and Swiss artist H.R. Giger, Beksinski was a contemporary master in his own right. Exhibitions of his always-untitled work appeared in the United States, Europe and Japan, and collectors paid thousands for a single canvas. His book, “The Fantastic Art of Beksinski,” was published in 1998.
Prior to moving to Warsaw in 1977, Beksinski burned several of his paintings because they failed to meet his exacting standards or were “too personal.” His wife, Zofia, died in 1998. A year later, on Christmas Eve, his son Tomasz committed suicide.
[Update – Nov. 9, 2006: A Warsaw court convicted a man of killing Polish surrealist painter Zdzislaw Beksinski, and sentenced him to 25 years in prison. The defendant, who was identified under Polish privacy laws only as 20-year-old Robert K., was the son of a longtime aide and friend. Robert K.’s teenage cousin, identified as Lukasz K., was convicted of being an accessory to the crime, and sentenced to five years in prison.]