Lot 167: "Statute of Kalisz" - Arthur Szyk, 1932
November 15, 2016
Jerusalem, IsraelLive Auction
Description: "Statute of Kalisz", an illustrated adaptation of the General Charter of Jewish Liberties granted to Jews in Poland (1264), created by Arthur Szyk. Facsimile on thick paper. Paris: "Table Ronde", 1932. English, Hebrew, Yiddish, German, Polish, Italian and Spanish. 45 illustrated plates. A unique artistic adaptation of the first charter of rights granted to the Jews of Poland. Colorful illustrations, diverse decorations, calligraphy and miniatures. Arthur Szyk (1894-1951), one of the most outstanding Jewish artists in the twentieth century, started his work on the scroll in the mid-1920s, when he resided in Paris. In the face of rising anti-Semitism in Poland, Syzk decided to to create an artistic argument expressing the unique and long affinity between Polish Jews and their homeland. As subject of his work Szyk chose the Statute of Kalisz, the first document of its kind securing the liberties of Jews in Greater Poland Voivodeship, issued by the Duke of Greater Poland Boleslaus the Pious (1224-1276) in 1264. Szyk illustrated the statute with outstanding figures and scenes from the history of Poland and Polish Jewry. He included the heroic death of Berek Joselewicz, a Jewish officer who died during the Napoleonic wars; the death of the officer Bronislaw Mansperl in World War I, and Jews fighting side by side with the Polish in Lodz again Tzarist Russia. Szyk's "Statute of Kalisz" is dedicated (on one of the illustrated plates) to J?zef Pi?sudski (1857-1935), the respected military leader and de facto governor of Poland at that time. Unnumbered copy, from of an edition of 500 copies. Lacking original paper folder. Total of 47 plates: 46 illustrated plates (one is double) and a colophon (probably missing two leaves - one printed, without illustrations, and one blank). Plates: 32X38.5 cm. Good overall condition. Creases and tears to margins. Stains to several plates (no damage to illustrations). One plate has a 3.5 cm long tear on upper margins, and a 1.5 long tear on right margins, without damage to illustration or text. Literature: The art and Politics of Arthur Szyk, by Steven Luckert, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, 2003. pp 16-25.