Man Carving His Own Destiny by Albin Polasek

Dublin Core


Man Carving His Own Destiny by Albin Polasek

Alternative Title

Man Carving His Own Destiny by Albin Polasek


Polasek, Albin, 1879-1965
Art--Southern States
Sculptors--United States
Sculpture--United States


Man Carving His Own Destiny, a sculpture chiseled from limestone by Albin Polasek in 1961. Polasek sculpted his first version of Man Carving His Own Destiny while studying under Charles Grafly at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1907. Reminisicent of Michaelangelo's Slaves, the sculpture depicts a man chiseling himself out of stone. Polasek has sculpted 53 different variations of Man Carving His Own Destiny throughout his lifetime. His various recreations depict differences in arm positions, the look of the hair, and how much of the man's body is emerged from the rock.

Polasek was born in 1879 in Frenštát pod Radhoštěm, Moravia (now part of the Czech Republic). He apprenticed as a woodcarver in Vienna, Austria, and immigrated to the United States in 1901. After working in the Midwest for nearly four years, Polasek finally began his formal training at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1910, Polasek won the Prix de Rome competition, spending three years at the American Academy of Art in Rome, Italy. Once he completed his studies in Rome, Polasek moved to New York City, New York, and set up a studio there. In 1916, the Art Institute of Chicago invited him to head its sculpture department, where he remained for nearly 30 years.

In 1949, Polasek retired to Winter Park, Florida, building a home on Lake Osceola. In spite of suffering a stroke in 1950 that left him confined to a wheelchair and his left side paralyzed, Polasek continued to paint, draw, sculpt clay, and carve wood, creating a total of 18 major works before his death in 1965. In 1961, Polasek established the Polasek Foundation, designating his personal galleries, chapel, and gardens as a museum. Each year, thousands of local and international guests come to Winter Park to visit Polasek’s historic home and studio at the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens. Polasek’s works can be found in Europe, all over the United States, and locally in Winter Park and Orlando.


Original sculpture: Polasek, Albin. Man Carving His Own Destiny: Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens, Winter Park, Florida.

Date Created

ca. 1879-1965

Is Format Of

Digital reproduction of original sculpture: Polasek, Albin. Man Carving His Own Destiny.

Is Part Of

Art Legends of Orange County Collection, RICHES of Central Florida.




364 KB


1 sculpture


Still Image


Winter Park, Florida

Accrual Method



History Teacher
Humanities Teacher
Visual Arts Teacher


Originally created by Albin Polasek.

Rights Holder

Copyright to this resource is held by Albin Polasek and is provided here by RICHES of Central Florida for educational purposes only.

Contributing Project


Cepero, Laura

Digital Collection

External Reference

"ALBIN POLASEK BIOGRAPHY." Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens.
Polasek, Emily M. K., and Albin Polasek. Albin Polasek: Man Carving His Own Destiny. 1970.
Sherwood, Ruth. Carving His Own Destiny: The Story of Albin Polášek. Chicago: R.F. Seymour, 1954.

Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format

1 color photograph




“Man Carving His Own Destiny by Albin Polasek.” RICHES of Central Florida accessed December 1, 2021,



Transcribe This Item

  1. ALOC00053.jpg