Arthur Szyk Program on April 14

Please plan to celebrate an important acquisition in the Donohue Rare Book Room on April 14 when the Gleeson Library welcomes Irvin Unger who will give an illustrated talk on the artistry of Arthur Szyk and the history of The Szyk Haggadah. Mr. Ungar is the proprietor of the antiquarian bookselling firm, Historicana and is an international authority on the work of Arthur Szyk. He also curated the recent exhibition at the Legion of Honor Museum “Arthur Szyk: Miniature Paintings and Modern Illuminations.” The Donohue Rare Book Room recently acquired a facsimile of The Szyk Haggadah which is on exhibition through April 15.

The illustrated talk will lay the groundwork for appreciation of the artist-activist Arthur Szyk (1894-1951) by evaluating his masterwork, his illuminated Passover Haggadah. Drawn and first published on vellum during the rise of Hitler, The Haggadah is a triumphant work of courage and hope, its style and themes remarkably prescient and enduringly relevant. A Polish Jew keenly aware of current events, Arthur Szyk fused his two passions—art and history—into a visual commentary on the dangerous parallel between the Exodus narrative of Egyptian oppression and alarming developments unfolding in Nazi Germany. After the war, he continued to devote himself to justice issues, including support of the creation of Israel. Szyk’s work is characterized by its social and political commitment, and by its adoption of illuminated manuscript tradition.

The program will take place at noon on Thursday, April 14 in the Donohue Rare Book Room. Light refreshments will be served. The event is free and open to the public. All are welcome to attend. For further information, please call (415) 422-2036. The program is co-sponsored by the Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice.

John Hawk
Head Librarian, Donohue Rare Book Room

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