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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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The Political Artist

The Political Artist

(p.260) The Political Artist
Arthur Szyk

Joseph P. Ansell

Liverpool University Press

This chapter asks what it means to be a political artist. It looks at Arthur Szyk's work within the context of ‘political’ art and twentieth-century art in general. The chapter asserts that Szyk was at least a political artist throughout the years of the Second World War: he dedicated virtually all of his energies during this period towards fighting the Axis and bolstering the Allies. A ‘one-man war’, as he was sometimes characterized, must be a political being and, if he is an artist, then he must be, perforce, a political artist. Yet the chapter also phrases the question in a broader way — by asking what the artist should do with their talents, not just in times of crises, but throughout a professional career. In all likelihood Szyk would have responded that he was working ‘on behalf of humanity’. In this respect he was an anachronism among twentieth-century artists.

Keywords:   Arthur Szyk, political art, political artists, twentieth-century art, modern art, political crises

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