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Le Livre d'Esther

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Le Livre d'Esther

BOOKS. Paris, 1925. Szyk's first illustrated book of Esther, a showcase of his richly colored, Persian-style miniatures.

Price: $2,800

One of Szyk's first illustrated fine art books. The Book of Esther, found in both the Hebrew and Christian bibles, tells the story of the beautiful Jewish woman who weds King Ahasuerus (Xerxes) and becomes the queen of Persia. Through her bravery, wisdom, and the good advice of her relative Mordechai, Queen Esther saves her people from genocide at the hands of the wicked Haman.

Szyk illuminated this classic story twice: once in 1925—this very book—and again in 1950. This early interpretation uses many decorative elements from Near Eastern art and architecture, most notably winged Assyrian guardians.

Megillat Esther [Book of Esther]. Illumination and calligraphy by Arthur Szyk. Text in Hebrew. 20 illustration in color. Paris: H. Piazza, 1925. With original tissue guards and original slipcase.

Limited to 520 numbered copies printed for distribution in the United States.

Provenance: This copy is inscribed, signed and dated “To Erving my friend / from Harry Glemby” 9 /18 /61. Harry Glemby was Szyk's first patron during his Paris period, and, as such, it is quite likely that Glemby was in some way supportive of Szyk in his publication of this work.

Reference: Ansell, Joseph. Arthur Szyk: Artist, Jew, Pole. Pp. 35-37. Luckert, Steven. The Art and Politics of Arthur Szyk, pp. 11-15.


King Ahasuerus and scribe. Queen Esther and attendant. The Book of Esther.