Exhibition of Political Art by Arthur Szyk, On View Through Dec. 16

Exhibition of Political Art by Arthur Szyk, On View Through Dec. 16

Artwork by Arthur Szyk, Madness, 1941, watercolor, gouache, ink, and graphite on paper.

Arthur Szyk, Madness, 1941, watercolor, gouache, ink, and graphite on paper. Courtesy of Taube Family Arthur Szyk Collection, The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, University of California, Berkeley.

More than 20,000 virtual visitors from around the globe have viewed video and 3D tours of the exhibition, and livestreamed and recorded Szyk-related programs—now available for viewing on the museum’s YouTube channel.

Arthur Szyk’s compelling political cartoons placed Nazi genocide, tyranny, and antisemitism on the covers of America’s most popular magazines during World War II. Today, his pioneering examples of graphic storytelling have renewed relevance in a landmark exhibition at the Fairfield University Art Museum.

On view for one more week, through December 16, In Real Times. Arthur Szyk: Artist and Soldier for Human Rights and the adjunct exhibition entitled Szyk: The Interactive Experience in the Museum’s Walsh Gallery have welcomed more than 4,000 visitors, with an additional 2,000 people coming to the campus for Szyk-related programs. This is the largest exhibition of Szyk’s work in the Northeast in over 50 years, and it has strongly resonated with the community during the two months it has been on view.

Szyk was one of the first public figures to take immediate, direct action in bringing attention to the Holocaust as it was being perpetrated—and did it uniquely through his artistic medium. The miniature scale of his pieces stands in striking juxtaposition to the magnitude of the themes they confronted and the human rights violations they exposed. More than 20,000 virtual visitors from around the globe have viewed the video and 3D tours of the exhibition, and livestreamed and recorded Szyk-related programs. Over 21 programs were offered, most of which are now available for viewing on the Museum’s YouTube channel. Docent-led tours of the exhibition are available in the Bellarmine Hall Galleries daily, and the museum has extended hours on Thursday evenings thanks to a grant from the Art Bridges Foundation.

In Real Times. Arthur Szyk: Artist and Soldier for Human Rights is curated by Francesco Spagnolo, PhD, curator of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at the University of California, Berkeley. The exhibition opened at the Magnes in May 2021, and was later on view at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans before coming to the Fairfield University Art Museum, the exclusive exhibition venue in the Northeast. At the Fairfield University Art Museum, the exhibition is coordinated by Philip Eliasoph, PhD, professor of art history and visual culture, and special assistant to the president for arts and culture, and is co-sponsored by the Bennett Center for Judaic Studies, the Center for Jewish History, New York, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Fairfield County.

About the Artist

Born into a middle-class Polish Jewish family in Lodz in 1894, Arthur Szyk led a life framed by two world wars, the rise of totalitarianism in Europe, and the birth of the State of Israel, before his death in New Canaan, Conn. in 1951. Much of his work centered around these historical experiences. Szyk was raised in Poland, educated in France, traveled to the Middle East and North Africa, and lived in London and Canada before moving to New York in 1940.

At Fairfield University, the exhibition is made possible thanks to generous sponsors including Connecticut Humanities, Aquarion Water Company, Fiona Garland, the Maximilian E. & Marion O. Hoffman Foundation, John Meditz ’70, Rick and Debi Smilow on behalf of the Smilow Foundation, the Sy Syms Foundation, Terra Foundation for American Art, the Delamar Hotel, and Tadbik Inc. of Israel and New Jersey, and media sponsors WSHU, The Algemeiner, and Westport Journal, as well as community partners including the Pequot Library, New Canaan Historical Society, and the Fairfield Museum and History Center.

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