Painter and potter Stanislaw 'Stacha' Halpern was born into a working-class Jewish family in Zolkiev, Poland (today Zhovkva, Ukraine) on 20 October 1919. In 1938, he enrolled at the School of Commercial and Fine Art, Lviv, until his studies were abruptly terminated by the German invasion of Poland in 1939 and the onset of the Second World War, when he fled to Australia and was reunited with his brothers in Perth, before settling in Melbourne, where among his circle was the Austrian-Jewish émigré painter Yosl Bergner. While working as a mould-maker in a commercial factory, he became interested in pottery, eventually, establishing his own home studio and becoming a full-time ceramist and painter. He also continued his training at the George Bell School in Melbourne (1948-49) and his first solo exhibition of pottery, paintings and sculpture was held at the Stanley Coe Gallery in Melbourne in 1950.

In 1951 he travelled to England, when he was among the many expatriate Australian artists who stayed at the Abbey Art Centre, Barnet, north London, established by art dealer William Ohly, before moving to the south of France, but maintaining a peripatetic lifestyle, setting up a studio in Paris at the end of the decade. During this period, he specialised in abstract and expressionist landscape paintings, exhibiting in Venice (1952), Milan (1958 and 1959) Copenhagen (1962) and Paris (1962). During this period he executed expressionistic landscapes and streetscapes, thickly and fluidly painted, culminating at the end of the decade in a series of paintings of beef carcasses, which have been described as 'powerful meditations on violence and death, and possibly his most abstract works'. In 1961, in England, he married his second wife, Betty Ann Hamilton, at the Brondesbury Synagogue in Middlesex, returning to Australia in 1966, where he focused on portraits executed in an Expressionistic manner, and also resumed pottery, inspired by European folk art. He died of heart disease in Hampton Australia, on 28 January 1969 at the age of 50. His work is held in collections in Australia including the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria and the Art Gallery of South Australia. A retrospective was held at the National Gallery of Victoria in 1970, followed by two touring exhibitions at the Nolan Gallery, Canberra (1989-90) and Charles Nodrum Gallery, Melbourne in (1993).