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Arthur SzykArtist, Jew, Pole$
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Joseph P. Ansell

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774945

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774945.001.0001

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An Artist with a Message

An Artist with a Message

(p.129) An Artist with a Message
Arthur Szyk

Joseph P. Ansell

Liverpool University Press

This chapter explores the nature of Arthur Szyk's works during the war years. It shows that his exhibitions during the Second World War were markedly different from his earlier ones: in the nature of the works on view, in the frequency of the public displays, and, most importantly, in their intent. Unquestionably, most of the political works were executed more quickly than the manuscripts, book illustrations, or paintings, because of their topical nature and the urgency of the message. Also, the majority of Szyk's work prior to this time had been conceived in the rectilinear format traditional in western painting, with the action unfolding in an elaborated environment — a world complete and separated from the viewer. However, virtually all of the anti-fascist materials were created without backgrounds. The figures occupy an indefinite space, accompanied only by those objects absolutely necessary to convey the idea. This convention breaks down the division between image and audience, focuses the viewer's attention, and hastens the decoding of the message.

Keywords:   World War II, political art, anti-fascist art, Jewish magazines, Jewish publications, war cartoons

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