Skip to Main Content

FUAM Exhibition - Arthur Szyk


This guide was created as a partnership between the DiMenna-Nyselius Library and the Fairfield University Art Museum and provides additional resources and information on the artist and themes related to the Fairfield University Art Museum exhibition.

Research Guide for the Fairfield University Art Museum's Exhibition:


In Real Times - Arthur Szyk: Artist and Soldier for Human Rights

September 29 - December 16, 2023

Bellarmine Hall Galleries (Main Exhibition) and Walsh Gallery (Szyk Digital Experience).

Image caption: Arthur Szyk, Israel (Heritage of the Nations series), 1948, watercolor and gouache, pen and ink and pencil on board. Courtesy of Taube Family Arthur Szyk Collection, The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, University of California, Berkeley.

Exhibition Description

The Exhibition (Bellarmine Hall Galleries)

This special exhibition, organized around the theme of human rights features more than 50 works by acclaimed Polish Jewish miniaturist and political cartoonist Arthur Szyk (1894-1951), including political cartoons, and images that honor the power and importance of democratic ideals. A witness to the rise of totalitarianism in Europe, Szyk emigrated from London to America at the beginning of World War II.

Szyk lived and worked in Connecticut, and passed away in New Canaan in 1951. His powerful political cartoons animated the covers of magazines such as Time and Collier's, raising awareness of the plight of European Jews and helping sway public opinion toward support for American participation in the Second World War.

As a self-described “soldier in art,” Szyk’s work was acclaimed by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt as a potent weapon “against Hitlerism." He advocated for religious tolerance, racial equality, and human dignity. Active in the years leading up to World War II and during the Holocaust, Szyk became one of America’s most celebrated political artists for his powerful artistic and social contributions against Nazism and fascism. As our communities continue to confront issues of structural racism and social upheaval — including the sharp rise in antisemitic rhetoric and violence across the United States— this exhibition provides a platform for conversations on the urgent topics of human rights and social justice.

Szyk: The Interactive Experience (Walsh Gallery)

Expanding on the power of the main exhibition, FUAM will also host an immersive Szyk experience in the Walsh Gallery featuring two workstations that will enable visitors to explore Szyk’s miniatures in high resolution, reconstructing the artist’s gaze through a “digital magnifying glass.” Visitors will be able to remix and repurpose individual elements, characters, and motifs drawn from the works in the exhibition, to create new cartoons that will be instantly “published” as projections on large wall surfaces in the gallery itself and online, giving the contemporary exploration and reinterpretations of Szyk’s art a broad audience in real-time.

Other features of Szyk: The Interactive Experience will include a screening room with films about Szyk’s art and life, a reading room, an art-making space, and an ambient soundtrack of American music from the era of Szyk’s prominence in the late 30s and 40s.

Organized by the University of California, Berkeley, The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, where it opened in May 2021, this exhibition is on view at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans from September 1, 2022 - May 7, 2023, before coming to the Fairfield University Art Museum, which is its only stop in the Northeast. At Fairfield, the exhibition is organized by Philip Eliasoph, PhD, Professor of Art History & Visual Culture, Department of Visual & Performing Arts, Sam & Bettie Roberts Lecturer in Judaic Studies, College of Arts and Sciences.

Selection of Recently Donated Archival Materials related to Arthur Szyk (DiMenna-Nyselius Library, on view until December 20, 2023)

To complement the current Arthur Szyk exhibit at Fairfield University’s Art Museum, the Archives and Special Collections department has created a display of some of the materials donated to the University by Irvin Ungar.  Items on display include magazine artwork by Arthur Szyk that demonstrates his commitment to the fight against Nazism and fascism, including covers from Collier’s magazine. Also on exhibit is a record album featuring illustrations by Arthur Szyk a 1945 edition of Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales. The album cover art shows how Szyk thought Hans Christian Andersen would look if he were reading his stories to a young boy and girl and with many of the characters from his “Fairy Tales” there in person.  Included in the drawings is a hidden dedication to Szyk’s granddaughter. Other items on display include playing cards and a calendar with the art of Arthur Szyk, and advertisements for other Szyk exhibits from all over the United States. In addition to the materials on display in this exhibit, Mr. Ungar generously donated many secondary sources pertaining to Arthur Szyk, his work, his art, and his life.

On display on the lower level of the Library until December 20th.

See the Finding Aid document below for the full list of items donated to the DiMenna-Nyselius Library by Irvin Ungar. Questions? Contact Elise Bochinski, University Archivist & Special Collections Librarian, or schedule an appointment through our form.

Exhibition Materials

Additional materials may be added when the exhibition opens.

About Fairfield University Art Museum (FUAM)

An essential academic and cultural resource for students, faculty, and residents of the surrounding geographic community and region, the Fairfield University Art Museum (FUAM) offers meaningful opportunities for first-hand experience of original works of art and their unique historical resonance. We foster appreciation of the visual arts; cultivate cultural literacy and critical engagement; conserve, research, and impart knowledge about the collection in accordance with best scholarly and museum practices; and champion human creativity of all cultures and time periods.


All FUAM Exhibition Guides