Born into a wealthy family in Drohobycz, Galacia, Bruno Schulz studied architecture at Lvov Polytechnic. After WWI, the Schulz family immigrated to Vienna and it was here that Schulz immersed himself in the world of Klimt, Schiele, and Kokoschka. While his stay in Vienna was relatively brief, the influence of the city's artistic climate is readily apparent in his present work.
Schulz began working on the cliché-verre illustrations for The Booke of Idolatry, in 1920, while an instructor at the Drohobycz Lycée. He kept the work largely secret from all but a few friends. As suggested by the title, the series of prints depicts a world of desire and temptation. Schulz printed the series himself, turning a corner of his small one-room house into a dark room suitable for printing the photo sensitive glass plates involved in cliché-verre. The Booke of Idolatry remained largely overlooked, as did Schulz himself, until the 1930 Spring Salon in the Palace of Art in Lvov.
The 1930's saw Schulz's development as a writer and following the 1933 publication of his novel The Cinnamon Shops, translated into English titled The Street of Crocodiles, he became known as one of the most important avant-garde Polish authors. While focusing largely on his writing through the 30's, his graphic work also attracted attention and critical fame. At the outbreak of WWII, Schulz was still living and working in Drohobycz which was at the time occupied by the Soviet Union. Following the German invasion of Poland, he was eventually forced into a ghetto. While initially somewhat protected by a German officer who admired his work, Schulz was shot in the street and killed by another German officer in 1942.
In the 1970's, his work was rediscovered through a series of exhibitions in France and in Belgium. A loan exhibition, largely of works owned by the Adam Mickiewicz Museum of Literature in Warsaw, was held at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, in 1990. Schulz is now considered one of the giants of Polish literature in the 20th Century and his numerous drawings are equally prized.
By an Act of Parliament, November 2012 was declared Bruno Schulz Month in Poland. A series of literary and commemorative events were held, marking the 120th anniversary of Schulz's birth and the 70th anniversary of his death.