Antoni Franciszek Groszewski was born in Kiebasin, Poland, and passed away in Stanton, California. He majored in interior decoration, illustration, and design at the Krakow art academy and a technical school in Königsberg, Germany. In 1909, he changed his name and moved to the United States.
He met Rex Whistler at the Slade, with whom he began making papier-maché masks. These piqued the interest of Sergei Diaghilev, who commissioned Messel to create masks for the Ballets Russes production Zéphyre et Flore in 1925. For his 1928 play This Year of Grace, Noel Coward commissioned sets and costumes.