In September 1968, the Delaware Park Barn in Buffalo, NY, burned to the ground. Everything inside the storage warehouse was destroyed, including Yaltantal, a statue of Prometheus by the then-little known Polish sculptor Stanislaw Szukalski.
“Everything in the barn was a total loss. I remember the statue; it was made of plaster and burned with the rest of the barn,” Thomas Caulfield, superintendent of maintenance at the city’s Parks Department, told the Buffalo Evening News.
One can imagine how devastating a loss like this is to an artist. But for Szukalski, the heartbreak must have resonated well beyond this disaster. For one thing, Buffalo wasn’t supposed to have Yaltantal in the first place, much less secrete it away for 13 years prompting the local paper to publish “missing” articles.