Born in Poland, raised in Ontario, Canada, painter and sculptor Richard Filipowski attended the Chicago School of Design and studied under Laszlo Moholy-Nagy. In 1946, he married Patricia Parker of Burlington, Iowa, who studied art at the Art Institute of Chicago, poetry at the University of Chicago, and design and architecture at the Institute of Design in Chicago. Many of her drawings and graphics are in the archives of the Chicago Historical Society. She later published her poetry under the name Patricia Filipowska.
Richard Filipowski did freelance work in Chicago and taught at the Institute of Design in Chicago until 1950, when Walter Gropius invited him to teach in the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. In 1952, he took a position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a teacher and artist-in-residence.