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The World is Blessed

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The World is Blessed

ORIGINAL ART. New York, 1945. Szyk's first cover illustration for Coronet Magazine.

Price: Upon Request

Arthur Szyk created a series of 23 paintings for the inside covers of Coronet magazine. Appearing between 1945 and April 1948, the illustrations were individually created to illuminate a specific quotation selected by the editors of Coronet. This quote by James Oliver, “The world is blessed most by Men who do things and not be those who merely talk about them,” was the initial offering in what became Coronet's very successful, “words in pictures” series. Other voices included those of Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, Wendell Willkie and Confucius. In most cases, Szyk was given free rein with his composition, though occasionally the magazine had certain requests for color usage or paper stock.

This illumination proudly highlights the “doers” of the world and sets them apart from the blustering “talkers” on the left side of the image. Since our nation was at war in 1945, the people accomplishing the most—in Szyk's estimation—were our soldiers, sailors, armament makers, and pilots. Their faces show the stern resolve and strength of people who have no time to shilly-shally. In contrast, Szyk painted the world's politicians and idle gossips as vacuous, lip-flapping blowhards. He surrounded them with lazy, troublemaking monkeys and parrots, who represent the antithesis of genuine, well meaning speech.

Coronet launched a newly “redecorated” magazine with the May 1945 issue and gave Szyk full credit for his part in its new look. “In a way,” the editor writes on the issue's last page, “the bright painstaking note which Arthur Szyk loaned to Coronet with his new series, is symbolic of Coronet's renovating scheme.”

“The world is blessed most by Men who do things and not be those who merely talk about them,” James Oliver. Original watercolor and gouache on paper for inside front cover of Coronet Magazine, New York, May 1945. Image measures 8 inches x 5 3/4 inches. Faded.

Provenance: Bernard Gittelson, Szyk's personal agent during the mid-1940s.

Publishing History: Coronet Magazine, New York, May 1945. Inside front cover.