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Arthur Szyk drawing

Object | Accession Number: 1995.40.7

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    Arthur Szyk drawing


    Brief Narrative
    Drawing of satirical subject matter relating to World War II created in the United States. Matted full image of man dressed in Soviet garb, patched-knee trousers, holding full sized shot gun in right hand, five point star present on his cap. Signed "Arthur Szyk/1941" in ink, lower right corner.
    Artwork Title
    Man dresed in Soviet garb
    creation:  1941
    creation: New York (N.Y.)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Joseph and Alexandra Braciejowski
    "Arthur Szyk/1941. N.Y." in ink, lower right corner
    Artist: Arthur Szyk
    Arthur Szyk (1894-1951) was born to Jewish parents, Solomon and Eugenia Szyk in Łódź, Poland, which at the time was part of the Russian Empire. He had his first public art exhibition at age 15, and then went to Paris, France, for formal art training at the Academie Julian. He visited Palestine in 1914 with a group of Polish-Jewish artists and studied Muslim art. Upon his return, he was conscripted into the Russian Army and served in World War I. He married Julia Liekerman in 1916, and they had a son, George, in 1917. In 1918, Poland regained independence, but continued to fight a series of regional wars to secure its boundaries. Between 1919 and 1920, during Poland's war against the Soviet Bolsheviks, Syzk served as a cavalry officer and artistic director of the Department of Propaganda for the Polish Army in Łódź. In 1921, he and his family moved to Paris where his daughter, Alexandra was born the following year.

    Szyk was well known for his illuminations and book illustrations, in a style reminiscent of Persian miniatures. He worked on several significant projects in France, including illustrating the Statute of Kalisz, the Haggadah, and a series of watercolors on the American Revolutionary War. The themes of his most admired works, democracy and Judaism, were already well established, earning him both fame and significant commissions. In 1934, Szyk traveled to the United States for exhibitions of his work and to receive the George Washington Bicentennial Medal, awarded by the US Congress. He resided in England from 1937-1940 to supervise the publication of the Haggadah. In 1939, following Germany's invasion of Poland, he focused on producing anti-Nazi editorial cartoons published in many Western newspapers and magazines. During the German occupation of Poland, his 70 year old mother, Eugenia, and her Polish companion were forced to live in the Łódź ghetto. In 1943, they were transported to Majdanek concentration camp and killed.

    In late 1940, Szyk immigrated to the United States with his family. He became a leading anti-Fascist political caricaturist as well as an advocate for Jewish rescue. In addition to his widely published satirical art, Szyk devoted a great deal of time and energy to the Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People of Europe, and pushed for the establishment of an independent Jewish state in Palestine. Szyk received his US citizenship in 1948. In 1951, he was investigated by the United States House Un-American Activities Committee as a suspected Communist. His son, speaking on his behalf, declared his non-affiliation with any Communist organization. Later that year, on September 13, Szyk suffered a heart attack and died at age 57.

    Physical Details

    Object Type
    Color drawing (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    image of what looks to be a Russian soldier in fur coat and hat, looking down at German soldier on ground. Russian soldier has gun in right hand and index finger of left hand pointing up. Border of paper gold with black markings and diamond shaped negative images.
    overall: Height: 9.940 inches (25.248 cm) | Width: 7.560 inches (19.202 cm) | Depth: 20.310 inches (51.587 cm)
    overall: Height: 20.000 inches (50.8 cm) | Width: 16.120 inches (40.945 cm)
    overall : paper, ink, graphite

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Administrative Notes

    The drawing was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1995 by Alexandra and Joseph Braciejowski, the daughter and son-in-law of Arthur Szyk.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 18:29:20
    This page:

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