Ausstellungsplakat Arthur Szyk



Arthur Szyk is born in Łódź on June 16 as the son of Solomon Szyk, a factory director, and his wife Eugenia.


Persuaded by several teachers, his father sends him to Paris to study art. Szyk attends the Académie Julien.


Szyk draws socio-critical caricatures for the Polish satirical magazine Śmiech (Pol.: laughter) from 1912 to 1914.


Continuation of studies in Cracow where he engages actively in the cultural life. The artist is also designing costumes and scenery for the cabaret Bi-Ba-Bo in Łódź.


Participation in a study trip through Palestine and the Middle East, arranged by the Jewish cultural association Hazamir (Hebr.: Nightingale). Szyk returns to his home city after the beginning of World War I and is conscripted to the Russian Army; he takes part in the battle of Łódź.


Szyk marries Julia Liekerman on September 14. Their son George is born a year later.


The satirical book Rewolucja w Niemczech (Pol.: Revolution in Germany), created in cooperation with the poet Julian Tuwim, appears. During the Polish-Soviet War 1919/20, Szyk works for a time in the propaganda unit of the army headquarters in Łódź.


Szyk takes part in a nationwide exhibition of Jewish artists in Łódź. Move to Paris where the family lives until 1937.


Szyk’s first Paris exhibition takes place at the Galeries Auguste Decour. Birth of daughter Alexandra. Seven-week working sojourn in the French protectorate of Morocco.


Second Paris exhibition at the Galeries Auguste Decour. The artist starts the illumination of the medieval Statut de Kalisz. During the same year, Le livre d’Esther is published, in the following years La tentation de Saint Antoine (1926), Le juif qui rit (1927) and Le puits de Jacob (1927).


Third exhibition at the Galeries Auguste Decour.


Traveling exhibition of the Statut de Kalisz, with venues in Warsaw, Łódź and Kalisz.


Work on a series on the epoch of the American Revolution and the War of Independence.


Szyk takes part in a session of the League of Nations in Geneva. Illustrations for Ludwig Lewisohn’s book, The Last Days of Shylock. Beginning of the illuminations for the Pacte de la Société des Nations. However, the artist suspends the project after having completed only a few pages. At the end of the year, he is awarded the Golden Cross of Merit by the Polish government.


Beginning of an exhibition tour through Poland with venues in fourteen cities. The Polish government organizes a continuation of the tour to Great Britain. Szyk begins work on the Haggadah, which is published in 1940.


Exhibition opening at the end of May in London at the International Art Gallery. During a stay over several months in London, he creates his first Hitler caricatures, with two of them printed in 1935 in the Jewish Daily Post. In December Szyk travels to the United States, where at the Brooklyn Museum in New York an exhibition of his work takes place.


Exhibition of Szyk’s works at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. During his visit there, the artist receives the George Washington Bicentennial Medal for his series on the first president of the United States.


Szyk’s portrait of the Zionist Joseph Trumpeldor appears in the newspaper Nasz Przeglad (Pol.: Our Review). It is reprinted during World War II in Jewish and Zionist magazines in the United States.


Move to London


In the months after the German invasion of Poland in September, five of Szyk’s political drawings appear in the London weekly newspaper Time and Tide. Second exhibition in London at the Arlington Gallery. In the same year twenty-three of his works are shown at the New York World’s Fair.


Szyk opens his third London exhibition at the Fine Art Society. In reaction to the beginning of the war, it contains primarily political drawings, as well as illustrations from the book Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, which appears in the same year. On behalf of the Polish government-in-exile he travels through Canada and later through the United States. Szyk’s son George joins the Forces Françaises Libres (Fr.: Free French Forces) fighting against the German Reich. At the end of the year, Szyk settles with his wife and daughter in New York.


The book The New Order, a collection of political drawings by Szyk, appears. The artist supports a United States’ entry into the war and addresses Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in his drawings. His caricatures appear henceforth in magazines such as Collier’s, Esquire or Time and in daily newspapers such as the New York Post or PM. During the war years, Szyk’s works are shown in more than twenty-five exhibitions in the United States.


The picture series Four Freedoms is published. The artist begins work on the illustrations for the Book of Job, which appears in 1946.


Start of the illustrations for the children’s books Andersen’s Fairy Tales and Mother Goose.


The Szyks move from New York to New Canaan, Connecticut. Exhibition of the book illustrations for The Canterbury Tales at Knoedler Gallery, New York. The U.S. army uses Szyk’s drawing Two down and One to go for its propaganda film of the same name.


The books Pathways through the Bible with Szyk’s illustrations as well as Ink and Blood containing political drawings are published. Szyk designs windows for a synagogue in Cleveland, Ohio and the ark of the covenant for a synagogue in Forest Hills, New York. The newsreel segment Cartoon Crusader, featuring Szyk, is broadcasted.


The Book of Ruth is published.


On May 22 Szyk becomes an American citizen. Illumination of the declaration establishing the state of Israel. The artist continues to deal with political subjects such as the discrimination against the African Americans.


Szyk presents his illumination of the American Declaration of Independence at a ceremony.


The United States Congress House Committee on Un-American Activities initiates an investigation of Szyk. The artist rejects the accusations of being member of communist organizations. Arthur Szyk dies on September 13 of a heart attack.