Zulawski was born in Rome in 1908, the son of prominent Polish writers. His early gift for painting was developed by studies in Warsaw (1927-33) and Paris (1935-36). By 1937, he had settled in England where he soon became a noted figure in the London art world. Following WWII, his work took on a starker, modernist sensibility. "The beauty of Zulawski's work is found in the simplicity of his statement. Simple truths, simply stated." The critic Edwin Mullins wrote in 1960, "There is immense power and profound silence in whatever he paints." His work was frequently shown in exhibitions at major galleries in the UK and is represented in museum collections in the United States, Britain, Poland, Israel, and elsewhere--and private collections throughout the world.
"During the 1960s the changing social currents brought about a change in Zulawski’s art, as well. The palette brightened, and the work took on a new sense of whimsy and irony, which works in oftentimes quirky counterpoint to many of his central themes. In the 1960s he turned to for the first and only time to a new medium—collage. The medium beautifully expressed Marek’s reaction to that decade of stormy social change—on both sides of the Iron Curtain—when the energy of a new generation seemed to tear the world apart and reform it in its own image. Marek’s paintings, too, became larger and intensely colorful in the later 1960s, and he experimented with a variety of paints, including lacquer, to make them even brighter."