Arthur Szyk was born in Poland and began painting at the age of four. He studied art in Paris until the outbreak of World War I, when he travelled East to study Mohammedan art. In 1914, he joined the Russian army, and later served as an officer in a guerrilla regiment in the Polish army. He married in 1921 and moved back to Paris, where he lived and painted until 1931. Szyk received many important commissions during this time… He illuminated the Covenant of the League of Nations, painted a series of miniatures dealing with the American Revolution that hangs in the White House, and spent three years working on an illumination of the Haggadah, the story of the Jews’ flight from Egypt which was dedicated to the King of England.
In 1940, Szyk relocated to Canada, eventually settling in New York City in 1941. Szyk’s political cartoons, which were published in the newspaper PM, were described by art critic, Thomas Craven as being “as compact as a bomb, extraordinarily lucid in statement, firm and incisive of line, and deadly in their characterizations.” The illustrations we scanned today are from a collection of Szyk’s political cartoons called “The New Order”..
Caricature is the foundation of cartooning. It involves the exaggeration of features to highlight and focus personality traits. Szyk was a master of caricature. His ability to clearly express the arrogance, irony and evil behind the trumped up facade of civilized behavior spoke louder than words. “The New Order” is a rare book. It was ahead of its time when it was published in 1941, before the United States entered the Second World War. Animation Resources was fortunate to locate a clean copy to digitize.
This posting is part of the online Encyclopedia of Cartooning under the subject heading, Editorial Cartoons.
This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit spotlighting Illustration.