SZYK, ARTHUR. 1894-1951. Original gouache, "Polish Pioneers Arriving in Jamestown,"
Lot 176
SZYK, ARTHUR. 1894-1951.
Original gouache, "Polish Pioneers Arriving in Jamestown,"
Sold for US$ 16,250 inc. premium

Lot Details
SZYK, ARTHUR. 1894-1951.
Original gouache, "Polish Pioneers Arriving in Jamestown," 203 x 152 mm, signed "Arthur Szyk London 1938" lower left, matted and framed.

AN IMAGINARY PORTRAIT OF POLISH-AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY PATRIOTS, done for the Polish Pavilion of the New York World's Fair, 1939, from a suite of twenty-three paintings depicting the contribution of Poles to American history. They were reproduced in Krakow in 1939 as a series of postcards, "Twenty Pictures from the Glorious Days of the Polish American Fraternity"; and reissued by P. Malak & Son in Toronto, Canada in 1976 in commemoration of the Bicentennial.

Polish-born artist Arthur Szyk is most celebrated for his anti-Axis caricatures during World War II described as "powerful as a bomb, clear in conception, definite and deadly in [their] execution." A Jew, he fled to England in 1937 and the British sent him to the United States in 1940 to help sway American public opinion in favor of their war against Hitler. Even Eleanor Roosevelt recognized his importance to the war effort. "This is a personal war of Szyk against Hitler," she said, "and I do not think that Mr. Szyk will lose this war!" His art is characterized by a jewel-like precision and glowing color reminiscent of medieval hand-illumined manuscripts. He was also an exceptional book illustrator whose works include The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, The Canterbury Tales, The Arabian Nights Entertainments and Andersen's Fairy Tales. He produced a stunning Haggadah in 1939 that he dedicated to King George VI and The Times called "among the most beautiful books that the hand of man has produced." He was later a great supporter of the new state of Israel.
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