Arthur Szyk’s “One-Man Army” Comes to Holocaust Museum Houston

HOUSTON, TX (Aug. 26, 2008) Cartoonist Arthur Szyk was once described by Eleanor Roosevelt as a "one-man army," a man who used his art as a weapon to garner support for the social and political issues in which he believed and who worked ceaselessly to draw the attention of the public to the murder of European Jews in Nazi Germany during World War II.

Szyk, a native of Lodz, Poland, believed his art could make a difference in the world, and, as such, became one of the 20th century’s most important political propagandists. 

His work is the focus of a new exhibit "A One-Man Army: The Art of Arthur Szyk" opening Monday, Oct. 20, 2008, in the Mincberg Gallery at Holocaust Museum Houston’s Morgan Family Center, 5401 Caroline St., in Houston’s Museum District. The exhibit will remain on view through July 26, 2009. Admission is free.

The public is also invited to a free preview reception on Sunday, Oct. 19, 2008 from 5 to 7 p.m. 

"A One-Man Army: The Art of Arthur Szyk" will highlight the private collection of Gregg and Michelle Philipson of Austin and will include loans of important works from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the United States Naval Academy Museum.

Gregg Philipson, a member of the Museum’s Advisory Board who also is a collector of Szyk artwork, will speak at the reception.

Throughout his career, Szyk produced illustrated books, illuminated manuscripts, commercial art and posters, stamps for the countries of Israel and Liberia as well as humanitarian causes and political cartoons that appeared on the covers of many important magazines during World War II. 

Szyk portrayed the Jewish people not as victims but as strong, patriotic and heroic. He called for a Jewish homeland in Palestine – a campaign that he continued after the end of World War II. He called for the United States to enter the war against Germany, and he created many powerful anti-Nazi and anti-axis cartoons.

Szyk, born in1894, studied art in Paris. In 1939, he found himself stranded in the wake of the Nazi invasion of Poland, and unable to return to Poland, he took aim against Germany, first from London and then after immigrating to the United States in 1940.

During World War II, his sketches appeared in such American newspapers as New York’s PM Daily and the New York Post. His work also appeared in Collier’s, Esquire, Fortune and Time magazines.

This exhibition is underwritten by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, Inc.; Houston Endowment, Inc.; Nina and Michael Zilkha Endowment Fund; and Edith F. and Robert L. Zinn; with special thanks to Continental Airlines, official airline of Holocaust Museum Houston.

Another exhibit on Szyk’s work is appearing at the German Historical Museum in Berlin through Jan. 4, 2009.

Holocaust Museum Houston is dedicated to educating people about the Holocaust, remembering the 6 million Jews and other innocent victims and honoring the survivors' legacy. Using the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides, the Museum teaches the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy.

The Museum is free and open to the public and is located in Houston’s Museum District at 5401 Caroline St., Houston, TX 77004. 

For more information about the Museum or this exhibit, call 713-942-8000 or visit www.hmh.org.

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