New York City, NY
Arthur Szyk: Soldier in Art explores the activism of the Polish-born artist through 38 politically incisive works that underscore Szyk’s role as a kind of “one man army” fighting odious policies and protagonists and advocating civil and human rights.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.
Whether or not you go, The Art and Politics of Arthur Szyk places the extraordinary artist and his work into the context of the turbulent times in which he lived (1894-1951). Arthur Szyk was one of the most creative and determined political activists of his time. A gifted book illustrator and illuminator, a skillful caricaturist, and a crusader for causes, this multifaceted artist ceaselessly defended the rights of Jews and advocated on their behalf.
Skilled in medieval and Persian miniature painting, Szyk redirected his artistry during World War II into political cartoons that unmasked the face of the Nazi enemy and mobilized popular opinion. His caricatures became daily fare in newspapers and magazines throughout the United States. In 1942 alone, Szyk’s war-driven cartoons were published in Esquire, Collier’s, Look, Liberty, Time, the Saturday Review of Literature, and the Saturday Evening Post. One magazine reported that Szyk cartoons were as popular as Betty Grable pin-ups for troops heading overseas.
Hundreds of illustrations -- rendered in the artist’s original brilliant colors and painstakingly intricate detail -- were drawn from private and public collections around the world. The illuminations, paintings, prints, line drawings, lithographs, posters, magazine covers, and stamps are still vibrant and compelling.