Return to Illustration
1945 - 1947
Szyk returns to book illustration and illumination.
Andersen’s Fairy Tales, a children’s classic, is one of his first post-War projects.
A new home for the Szyk family.
After the end of WWII, Arthur Szyk and his family move into what is to become his final home: the house at New Canaan, Connecticut.
Haganah supports the immigration of Jews to Palestine.
The Jewish underground organization, Haganah, aided the immigration of 90,000 Jews, mostly survivors of persecution during WWII. This went directly against the British mandate for Palestine, which prevented any more Jewish immigration. In Irgun, Haganah, Sternists Szyk clearly celebrates the three paramilitary factions fighting for Jewish interests in the region. He depicts them as three heroic young men, united in a common cause, dear to his heart: the creation of a separate Jewish state in Palestine. The central faction, Haganah, became the core Jewish Defense Forces.
Andersen’s Fairy Tales is published.
Arthur Szyk’s illustrated book Andersen’s Fairy Tales was published by Grosset and Dunlap. This image shows the front dust cover, which featured a painting by Szyk, which also is reproduced on the frontispiece.
Pathways Through the Bible is published.
Szyk publishes Pathways Through the Bible. During the post-war years, book illustration became once again, a central part of Szyk’s working life. One of his first projects was this re-working of the Old Testament for younger audiences. He dedicated Pathways to the memory of his mother, who was burned alive, along with her servant Josefa, at Chelmno in March 1943.
The Canterbury Tales is published.
George Macy, of the Limited Editions Book Club, approached Szyk to create illustrations for a version of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales after seeing costume designs that Szyk created for the play The Dybbuk. Szyk completed the illustrations in less than a year. In addition to being included in the book, they were exhibited at Szyk’s last major exhibition. The Art Digest wrote that the works “demonstrate the versatility and skill which enabled the Polish artist to turn with equal ease from peaceful illumination … to brutal satire against Hitler … and now back again.”
Ink and Blood is published.
Ink and Blood was published more than two years after it was first proposed, mainly because it was felt that a book of political cartoons may be too confronting and grim for an American audience. Many of the works in the book had either been published before, or had been shown in exhibitions of Szyk’s work during the war. The frontispiece shows Szyk, busy at work, drawing caricatures of the Axis powers. The book presented the works as having deeper universal meaning: the war might be over, but continued vigilance was essential.
The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam is republished.
Originally published in 1940, Szyk’s illustration of the poems of Omar Khayyam was republished in 1946 by the Heritage Book Club. George Macy had approached Szyk about the book after seeing an exhibition of his miniatures at the World’s Fair. The illustrations for the book are the most Persian-influenced works of his oeuvre. Oriental carpets, lush vegetation, rich patterning and strong bright colors are reminiscent of Persian manuscripts. Szyk’s use of Arabic calligraphy in a number of the images demonstrates the depth of Szyk’s historical research for the project.
The Book of Job is published.
He completed the included works over a period of three years. The book was published by George Macy for both the Limited Editions Book Club and the Heritage Book Club. The most expensive book that the Limited Editions Book Club had produced to date, it was printed on hand-made French paper in three colors. The Heritage Book Club version was less luxurious, and meant for a broader market.
The Book of Ruth is published.
Conceived as a companion piece to The Book of Job, Szyk’s The Book of Ruth was also published by the Limited Editions Book Club. Unlike most of their other collaborations, the proposal for the publication came from Szyk; such was the popularity of The Book of Job, George Macy readily agreed. Ruth was even costlier to produce, using the same English printers that had produced The Haggadah. A lower cost version was also produced for the Heritage Book Club.