Ominous threats filled the years around World War II—Nazism, the escalating plight of European Jews, Fascism, Japanese militarism, and racism. Arthur Szyk (1894–1951), the great 20th-century “activist in art,” confronted the turbulent, hate-filled period with forceful artistic depictions caricaturing Hitler, Mussolini, and Hirohito as the evil architects of their regimes’ destructive and inhumane policies. Arthur Szyk: Soldier in Art explores the activism of the Polish-born artist through more than 40 politically incisive works that underscore Szyk’s role as a kind of “one man army” fighting odious policies and protagonists and advocating civil and human rights. Arthur Szyk: Soldier in Art is curated by Debra Schmidt Bach, curator of decorative arts, with Irvin Ungar, project adviser.
Support for Arthur Szyk: Soldier in Art is provided by Shelley and Steven Einhorn, the David Berg Foundation, the Edward and Sandra Meyer Foundation, and Nancy and Morris W. Offit.
Exhibitions at New-York Historical are made possible by Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar Tang, the Saunders Trust for American History, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.