- Brief Narrative
- The multi-colored lithograph represents Arthur Szyk's conception of the entire history of the Dominion of Canada. The Arms of Canada are centered at the top representing Canada's British founders through the blazons of Scotland, England, and Ireland, and a fleur-de-lis at the top left represents Canada's French heritage. The arms of all of the Canadian provinces are depicted along the sides of the print as well as portraits of British General James Wolfe and French General Marquis de Montcalm. A maple leaf, Canada's national emblem, is drawn under depictions of a Native Indian, a Mountie, and two beavers.
- Artwork Title
- Title page for The dominion of Canada
- Credit Line
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Irvin Ungar
Distributor: Kasimir Bileski
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.
Rights & Restrictions
- Conditions on Access
- No restrictions on access
- Conditions on Use
- Restrictions on use. Copyright belongs to Irvin Ungar, Historicana.
Keywords & Subjects
- Legal Status
- Permanent Collection
- The lithograph was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2002 by Irvin Ungar.
- Funding Note
- The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
- Record last modified:
- 2023-06-09 14:36:18
- This page:
Also in Arthur Szyk collection
The collection consists of eleven lithographs by Arthur Szyk, two offset lithographs, Peace on earth to men of good will and General Wladyslaw Sikorski, and one portfolio of nine first edition lithographs from the series, Visual History of Nations (1945-1949.}
Print of an Arthur Szyk painting and illumination of the closing words of Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address of 1865, with a portrait of Lincoln, flags of Allied nations of World War II, and US military symbols. Szyk, a Jewish emigre artist, originally from Łódź, Poland, left London for the United States in 1940. After the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, his work was focused on anti-Nazi political cartoons. In the US, Szyk became a leading anti-Fascist editorial caricaturist, creating works that brought attention to the mass murder of Europe’s Jews by Nazi Germany.
Lithograph of a portrait of General Wladyslaw Sikorski painted by Arthur Szyk in 1946. It portrays the General in uniform, standing in front of a Polish crest with a scene of military action, an excerpt of the Polish National Anthem, Mazurek Dabrowskiego [Dabrowski's Mazurka] and the quote: We will fight (with swords) for all, that our enemies had taken from us.
9 first-edition lithographs created by Arthur Szyk for a visual history of the founding nations of the UN
9 first-edition lithographs from the "Visual history of nations" series dated 1945 to 1949. Kasimir Bileski, a Canadian philatelist and entrepreneur, commissioned Arthur Szyk to create the series in 1945. The series was originally referred to as the "United Nations series" because each of the 9 separate sheets symbolically portrays the visual history of a founding or member country of the United Nations. The nations included are the United States of America, Canada, Poland, Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union, China, Switzerland, and Israel. The lithographs were created to be the title pages for a unique international stamp album and were printed from watercolor and gouache illuminations.
Color lithographic print from the United Nations Series, originally painted by Arthur Szyk in New Canaan, Connecticut. Each image in the series was to be highly detailed single-page piece that combined symbols, scenes, portraits, and decorative motifs to create a visual history of each member country of the United Nations. The series was commissioned by Kasimir Bileski, and the images were meant to be cover pages for an international stamp book. Szyk was to continue painting these histories as new countries joined the United Nations, but he only completed nine before his death in 1951. Born to Jewish parents in Łódź, Poland, Szyk studied and worked on projects throughout Europe, drawing on his personal experiences when creating images. When Szyk returned to Poland, he served in the Russian Army during World War I. While serving, he became an artistic director for the Polish Department of Propaganda during the Polish–Soviet War. In 1937, Szyk moved to England to escape the increasing antisemitism and rising Nazi threat. When Germany invaded Poland in 1939, Szyk began contributing illustrations and caricatures of Hitler and the Nazis to the war propaganda campaign. In 1940, he was able to immigrate to the United States, where he continued his career as an illustrator and contributed anti-Nazi cartoons to publications such as Life, Time, and Esquire. His widely published caricatures made him one of the most famous political satirists during World War II and he was considered one of the greatest modern practitioners of the art of illumination.
The multi-colored lithograph represents Arthur Szyk's conception of the entire history of the Republic of Poland. The Polish eagle, not wearing a crown because of the Soviet Union's domination of Poland in1946, fills the top center of the print. Portraits of famous Poles including Boleslaw I (King of Poland, d.1025), Nicolaus Copernicus, Frédéric Chopin, Tadeusz Kościuszko, and Kazimierz Pulaski line the sides. The Coat of Arms of Warsaw is drawn at the bottom center above depictions of a Polish miner and a Polish peasant as well as the Coat of Arms of Pomerania. The Coat of Arms of Silesia is presented at the bottom left and right corners.
The multi-colored lithograph represents Arthur Szyk's conception of the entire history of Great Britain. At the top of the print, St. Edward's crown sits on top of a blue garter, representing the Order of the Garter, which surrounds the Coat of Arms of Great Britain. Flanking the coat of arms is the lion of England and the royal unicorn of Scotland. The Tudor rose, Union Jack, thistle of Scotland, shamrock of Ireland, and daffodil of Wales occur throughout the lithograph. Portraits of an industrial worker and a sailor, scenes of the Houses of Parliament and the Tower of London, and a depiction of St. George, patron saint of England, slaying the dragon fill the bottom.
The multi-colored lithograph represents Arthur Szyk's conception of the entire history of the Republic of France. Squares bearing the coat of arms of each region or province of France border the edges of the print. The French flag is centered at the top of the print and is surrounded by ribbons carrying the rallying words of the French Revolution, "Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity." Portraits of French notables including the Marquis de Lafayette, Molière, Joan of Arc, and Louis Pasteur are placed along the sides of the lithograph. The Coat of Arms for the City of Paris, depictions of a French sailor and a French soldier, and scenes of the Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame fill the bottom.
The multi-colored lithograph represents Arthur Szyk's conception of the history of pre-Communist Russia and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.). Red stars, adopted by the Communists as a symbol of Soviet Russia, are placed throughout the print, most prominently at the bottom center. Another Soviet symbol, the hammer and sickle, is superimposed on a globe at the top of the print, and a red ribbon underneath the globe carries the message: "Workers of the World Unite." Portraits of Vladimir Ilích Lenin and Peter I (Emperor of Russia, 1672-1725) flank the hammer and sickle at the top corners and depictions of a Russian sailor, soldier, industrial worker, farmer, and priest as well as scenes of the Kremlin and Magnitogorsk, Russia, fill the lower half of the lithograph.
The multi-colored lithograph represents Arthur Szyk's conception of the entire history of the Republic of China. In the center, "Republic of China" is displayed in traditional Chinese characters superimposed over the yellow circular Chinese symbol for "long life" and surrounded by four circular blue-and-white star logos of the Nationalist goverment founded by Sun Yat-sen. The dragon at the center top represents Imperial China and is flanked by portraits of Sun Yat-sen on the right and Confucius on the left. The eight immortals of Taoism line either side of the central panel, and depictions of a scholar-bureaucrat and peasant farmer as well as a porcelain urn and the circular symbol for the Republic of China decorate the lower half of the print. Four vertical and four horizontal columns containing the names of China's provinces spelled in Chinese characters line the bottom edge.
The multi-colored lithograph represents Arthur Szyk's conception of the entire history of Switzerland. Flags of the 22 Swiss cantons edge the print, 11 on each side, and the flag of the free city of Vaud is located underneath "Switzerland." A depiction of William Tell and his son decorates the center top above "1291," the date of Swiss independence and the words "Suisse," "Schweiz," and "Svizzera," representing the three languages (French, German, and Italian) spoken in the country. The Swiss motto, "One for all and all for one," appears in both French and German above depictions of a clockmaker and a farmer. A Swiss flag fills in the lower half of the print.
The multi-colored lithograph represents Arthur Szyk's conception of the entire history of the Jewish people and Israel. The Biblical kings, David, and his son, Solomon, who is holding a copy of "Song of Songs," are drawn on either side of three other Biblical notables: Hur, Moses, and Moses' brother, Aaron. A blue Star of David dominates the center of the print with the "Crown of a Good Name" above and Hillel's quotation, "If I am not for myself, Who will be for me?," in Hebrew below. The phrase, "The time of our freedom," flanks the Star of David. Depictions of Bar Kokhba (Kochba) on the left and the prophet, Ezekiel, on the right line the sides of the print. The word, "Israel," in Hebrew is drawn above a scene consisting of an Israeli soldier and a pioneer ("Chalutz" /"Halutz") flanking the Ten Commandments. The Hebew prayer, "Shehecheyanu," is contained in four stars located throughout the lithograph.