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Major Arthur Szyk Collection Given To
University Of California, Berkeley
By Talya Zax
April 3, 2017 Arthur Szyk Collection

he University of California, Berkeley’s Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life is about to become
home to a major collection of the works and personal papers of Arthur Szyk, thanks to a gift from the
Bay Area-based Taube Philanthropies.

Szyk, who was born to a Jewish family in Łódź, Poland in 1894, was a book illustrator and political artist. His work
was known for its invocation of Renaissance and medieval artistic traditions, and his great attention to color.
Working primarily in France and Poland until the mid-1930s, he eventually relocated first to London, then to New

While in New York, Szyk met the parents of Tad Taube, chairman of Taube Philanthropies.

Taube Philanthropies’s $10.1 million gift of the collection is both the largest granted for the acquisition of art and
largest individual monetary gift directed towards Jewish studies in the University’s history. Taube previously
provided the 15,000-item Magnes Collection, the third-largest American Jewish museum collection, with a grant

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Major Arthur Szyk Collection Given To University Of Californi...

that assisted in its 2010 move to the University.

“Arthur Szyk’s unique contributions to contemporary art and political illustration have not yet been recognized to
the extent his work deserves,” Taube said in a press release.

“With our shared Polish Jewish heritage, and a relationship my parents developed with Szyk upon first arriving in
the United States from Poland in the early 1940s, it is significant to me to ensure that Szyk’s remarkable works are
available to today’s and future generations.”

Arthur Szyk: A 'Master Illuminator' Illuminated
Judah S. Harris April 20, 2010

New Life for Arthur Szyk
A.J. Goldmann April 20, 2009

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Major Arthur Szyk Collection Given To University Of Californi...

Talya Zax
Talya Zax is the Forward’s culture fellow. Contact her at or on Twitter,

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