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Berkeley Gets Biggest Art Grant Ever To Buy This Jewish Artist’s Paintings

(JTA) — The University of California, Berkeley, received its biggest art grant ever to acquire the world’s largest collection by the Jewish-Polish artist Arthur Szyk and display it in a public institution for the first time.

The $10.1 million gift from the Taube Philanthropies will be used to acquire 450 artworks — including paintings, drawings and sketches — according to a statement. The collection, which features some of Szyk’s most valuable works, also includes some books, newspapers and magazines that published his art.

It will be displayed at the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, the third-largest Jewish museum collection in the country.

Szyk was born in 1894 in Lodz, Poland, to a middle-class Jewish family. He studied art at a private school in Paris, lived in London and Canada, and traveled to the Middle East and North Africa before settling in New York in 1940 following the outbreak of World War II.

He drew inspiration from Judaism, including stories from the Bible, as well as the historical events he witnessed, including both world wars, the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel.

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