Arthur Szyk, Artist and Activist
Arthur Szyk was one of the most unique figures in the art of the 20th Century. Espousing a style of painting that is reminiscent of medieval manuscript illumination and Persian miniatures, he is said to have worked without a magnifying glass and sometimes with the single hair of a brush. His current show Soldier in Art, at the New York Historical Society through January 29, 2018, has been called a “jewel box” (J. Hoberman in Tablet Magazine).
Having left his native Poland in 1909 to study in Paris, Szyk continued to feel a powerful connection to Poland’s deep Jewish culture and to the plight of its people, as evidenced in his painting of a young Yeshiva student, possibly a war refugee, painted in London in 1940 (lot 4). Szyk’s genius found full expression in his illustrations for bible stories and other tales ( lot 5), his illuminated Haggadah, (lot 155), and his seminal political satires, which took on the Nazi menace and the Axis allies (lot 6).