Arthur Szyk and the Art of the Haggadah

February 13–June 29, 2014

Arthur Szyk and The Art of the Haggadah

Arthur Szyk, The Family at the Seder, 1936. Watercolor and gouache on paper, 7 1/2 x 5 1/2  in.  Courtesy the Robbins Family Collection, Palo Alto, CA. Copyright © The Arthur Szyk Society.


The haggadah, the ritual text for the Passover seder, evokes the story of the exodus of the ancient Hebrews from slavery in Egypt. While myriad haggadot have been created from the tenth century to the present, the exhibition highlights the unique and powerful story of The Szyk Haggadah (1940). Arthur Szyk (1894–1951), a Polish Jew keenly aware of current events, fused his two passions—art and history—into a visual commentary on the dangerous parallel between the Passover narrative and the alarming developments unfolding in Nazi Germany in the 1930s. The exhibition includes all forty-eight original illustrations of Szyk’s masterpiece that has become a mainstay in Jewish homes. Historical illuminated haggadot from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as well as contemporary versions, will also be featured.



Arthur Szyk and the Art of the Haggadah is organized by The Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco. Patron sponsorship for the exhibition is provided by The Jim Joseph Foundation and Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture.  Supporting sponsorship has been provided by The Arthur Szyk Society and BNY Mellon Wealth Management.
The Contemporary Jewish Museum is supported by the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund.

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Major support for The Contemporary Jewish Museum’s exhibitions and Jewish Peoplehood Programs comes from the Koret Foundation.




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