• Steven Heller

That’s Szyk, like the Razor



Arthur Szyk (pronounced, at least by me, as Schick, like the razor) was a Paris-educated Polish Jew (1894-1951), who escaped to New York from Europe just before the Holocaust. Szyk is best-known for his World War II anti-Fascist caricatures and exquisite watercolor and gouache illuminated miniatures, many of which were published as illustrated fine art books. His most famous work is his Passover Haggadah. From April 13-25, the exhibition Methods of a Master Illuminator features his exquisitely detailed drawings at the Broome Street Gallery (498 Broome St., NYC). Tonight is the opening reception. The leading Szyk scholar, Irvin Ungar, will then give lectures on Sunday, April 18 (3pm) and Tuesday April 20 (6:30pm), which are open to the public.

The highlights of the show are works from a newly discovered 1910s sketchbook. These rarely seen images reveal a confident young Szyk experimenting with Art Nouveau, medieval illumination, Polish folk art, and political caricature. These early sketches and studies, which offer invaluable insight into the development of Szyk’s methods and style, will be juxtaposed with works from later phases of the artist’s career.

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