Skip To Content

‘Maus’ Creator Art Spiegelman Becomes First Comics Artist To Win Prestigious Culture Award

(JTA) — Art Spiegelman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novelist for “Maus,” is set to become the first cartoonist to win the prestigious MacDowell Medal for culture and the arts.

The recognition puts Spiegelman, the son of Polish Holocaust survivors, in the company of cultural icons such as painter Georgia O’Keeffe and surrealist filmmaker David Lynch.

“Maus,” his semi-autobiographical graphic novel, tells the story of his father’s experiences during World War II as well as their strained relationship. He won the Pulitzer in 1992. Both “Maus” and its sequel were commercial and critical successes.

A longtime writer and illustrator, Spiegelman first gained prominence as a member of the underground comix scene in the 1970s.

Told he was being honored with the MacDowell Medal, Spiegelman thought to himself, “The last thing I need is another lifetime achievement award,” he told the Washington Post. However, he added, “I have a voraciously puny sense of self — like most cartoonists I know.”

Spiegelman decided to accept the award thinking it could help break down cultural barriers for for his fellow cartoonists.

“We have no minister of culture in this country, so it falls to the private sector,” he said. “And art gives you a deeper look at what is going on around you. What’s recorded by artists helps us make [sense] of it all.”

The Edward MacDowell Medal has been awarded annually since 1960 to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to American culture and the arts. It is given by The MacDowell Colony, the first artist residency program in the United States. Composer Edward MacDowell and his pianist wife, Marian, launched the colony in 1907.

Spiegelman is also a recipient of a 2011 National Jewish Book Award, which he won for his book “MetaMaus: A Look Inside a Modern Classic, Maus.”

The post ‘Maus’ creator Art Spiegelman becomes first comics artist to win prestigious culture award appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.