The New Order, Arthur Szyk, Puttnam's New York, 1941 selected plates

Collier's December 1942 Pearl Harbour

drawing of a Japanese soldier

John Bull, Liberty Magazine 1943

portrait of Frances Perkins, FORTUNE 1941

two Oriental scenes in watercolour 1948

Arthur Szyk has not yet found his rightful place in the history of American illustration. His roots in the style and detail of the manuscript illustration do not endear him to the painterly preferences of the critic. Much of the political attack he mounted on Nazi Germany has a power that is unequalled in the graphic art, with an intensity that often distracts from his pictorial accomplishments.


I used his illustrations to Andersen's Fairy Tales, Grosset and Dunlap 1945 as a discussion point for interpretation of texts in two modes - colour and monochrome (page size 15 x 20cms). His use of detail within compositions, and the overall balance was always worth examining, as is his ability to retain a structure as the details and the figures pile in.


The processional format of the dramatis personae in any one book is a characteristic trademark of Arthur Szyk's. Here are the Andersen figures assembled as an endpaper. The figures of The Canterbury Pilgrims for the Heritage edition of Chaucer's work translated F.E.Hill 1935 and 1946, act as a frontispiece for the book, double page size 33 x 25cms.

An element of his art rarely commented on is his monochrome drawing, best seen in the vignettes and single page illustrations for Andersen.