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Arthur Szyk, We’re running short of Jews!, 1943, ink and graphite on paper, 8 1/4 x 5 7/8".

Arthur Szyk

New-York Historical Society

Arthur Szyk, We’re running short of Jews!, 1943, ink and graphite on paper, 8 1/4 x 5 7/8".

When thinking of the most prominent American artists of the 1940s, the names Edward Hopper, Ben Shahn, and Jackson Pollock come to mind, but not Arthur Szyk, who was perhaps the most significant of them in his response to the events and problems of that decade. While both Shahn and Szyk were Jewish activist artists, Shahn did not address the rise of fascist dictators—especially Hitler, whom Shahn rarely portrayed or caricatured, as Syzk brilliantly did in such works as in Antichrist, 1942—nor did he tackle anti-Semitism, which Szyk took on in To Be Shot as Dangerous Enemies of the Third Reich! and We’re Running Short of Jews!, both 1943. Szyk also portrayed the violence of World War II with allegorical irony and incisive vehemence in the Ride of the Valkyries from his “Nibelungen” series of 1942. Meanwhile, lost in melancholy isolation, Hopper’s people seemed indifferent

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