Arthur Szyk (pronounced “shick”) was a widely admired illustrator and political caricaturist, known for his illuminated manuscript style based on 16th-century miniatures as well as for his profound humanism, devoted to the ideals of democracy and Judaism. A well-traveled man, he began studying art at the age of 15, at the Académie Julian in Paris, continued his studies in Krakow in 1913, and visited a community of artists who were Polish Jews living in Palestine the following year. After a stint in the Polish army, he moved with his wife and family to Paris in 1921, where he remained for many years and illustrated several books in French, many on Biblical or Jewish themes, worked on major commissions from the French government and the League of Nations, and exhibited his work in one-person shows. In 1937, he relocated to London, where he published his Haggadah in 1940, a project he had begun in the 1920s, which was dedicated to King George IV.
When Germany invaded Poland in 1939, Szyk began producing anti-fascist satirical works, which he toured in North America at the suggestion of the Polish and British governments to raise awareness of the growing threat of Nazism. In the Forties, he emigrated to the United States and became a successful illustrator in his adopted country, doing covers for magazines such as Time, Esquire and Collier’s and advertisements for U.S. Steel and Coca Cola, as well as continuing to produced illuminated books. He worked tirelessly for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. He became an American citizen in 1948, but was investigated in 1951 by the House Un-American Activities Committee for potential Communist activities. Although prominent citizens asserted that this was specious, the stress took its toll, and he died of a heart attack later that year. The Arthur Szyk Society was established in California in 1991 to document and promote his legacy as an artist and champion of democratic and Jewish values
Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall light toning, handling and wear.
“Arthur Szyk.” Arthur Szyk Society. http://www.szyk.org/ (2 December 2016).