Artist in the studio (2007)
|Born||June 8, 1945|
|Known for||Watercolor, Drawing, Painting|
Mark Podwal (born June 8, 1945) is an artist, author, filmmaker and physician. He may be best known for his drawings on The New York Times OP-ED page. In addition, he is the author and illustrator of books for children as well as for adults. Most of these works — Podwal's own as well as those he has illustrated for others—typically focus on Jewish legend, history and tradition. Exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the world, his art is represented in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Carnegie Museum of Art, Fogg Art Museum, the Jewish Museum in Prague, and the Library of Congress.
Projects and Installations
Beyond his works on paper, Podwal’s artistry has been employed in an array of diverse projects, including the design of a series of decorative plates for the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Passover Plate, Zodiac Platter (Met Bestseller), and Life Cycle (Met Bestseller). His work has been animated for public television in A Passover Seder with Elie Wiesel (Time Warner), engraved on a Congressional Gold Medal presented by President Reagan to Elie Wiesel, and woven into an Aubusson tapestry that adorns the ark in the main sanctuary of Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York. Moreover, he designed sixteen kiln cast glass panels for the United Jewish Appeal Federation Headquarters in New York. Podwal collaborated with Academy Award winning filmmaker Allan Miller on the documentary House of Life: The Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague, narrated by Claire Bloom. In 2009 and 2010, the film was broadcast on PBS. Podwal's portraits of Mozart in costumes from his operas were published as a boxed set of greeting cards by the Metropolitan Opera.
In conjunction with the Anti-Defamation League, Podwal began The Jerusalem Sky Project, a program that fosters tolerance and awareness by bringing together young children from the Jewish, Islamic, and Christian communities. Participating religious schools study Podwal's Jerusalem Sky in their classrooms, and then encourage their students to illustrate their own depictions of Jerusalem. Amidst the learning, the children of each school write to or meet with their counterparts at a school of another faith and begin to learn about each other's religion and culture. After a few weeks, the program culminates with an exhibition of all of the drawings from each of the schools. At the opening of the exhibition, the children meet to enjoy each other's art and company. In a 2005 article called "Three Faiths, One Lesson", the New York Times covered the completion of the program at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Brooklyn, NY. The project has since also been carried out in Los Angeles, CA, and Binghamton, NY.
In 2011, Podwal received commissions to illustrate a new Passover Haggadah for the Central Conference of American Rabbis Press; to design new embroidered textiles for Prague's 700-year-old Altneuschul; to create a limited edition print for the Metropolitan Opera's production of Nabucco; and to design Hanukkah cards for the Metropolitan Museum and the Metropolitan Opera. Also in 2011, he received the Jewish Cultural Achievement Award from the Foundation for Jewish Culture.
In 2014, the Terezin Ghetto Museum exhibited Podwal’s cycle All This Has Come Upon Us, a series of 42 paintings and drawings created especially for that venue. The works, which span Jewish history from the destruction of the two temples in Jerusalem, through the history of anti-Semitism and persecution in Europe, culminating in the Holocaust, have been described by the artist as offering "a disturbing reminder of how Europe’s extensive history of 'Jew-hatred' laid the groundwork for Terezin and Auschwitz". The series has been published as a portfolio of archival pigment prints, which has been acquired by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Library of Congress, Yad Vashem, the Bodleian Library, the British Library, the Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University Library, Columbia University, Hebrew University, and the National Library of Israel, among many others.
In 2015, Mark Podwal was commissioned to design new textiles for the restored synagogue in the Czech city of Brno. At Prague's Klementinum, Podwal's series Mozart and Prague was exhibited along with Mozart's handwritten manuscripts.
In 2016, Glitterati Inc. published a 374-page monograph on his work, Reimagined: 45 Years of Jewish Art.
Podwal is represented by Forum Gallery, New York and has exhibited there since 1977. He continues to pursue a parallel career as a physician and currently serves on the faculty of New York University School of Medicine as Clinical Associate Professor of Dermatology.
- Ozick, Cynthia (8 October 2016). "Master of the True Line Cynthia Ozick introduces artist Mark Podwal's new collected works". Tablet. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
- "Three Faiths, One Lesson"
- Kestenbaum, Gloria (October 23, 2014). "An Illustrated Saga of the Diaspora". The Jewish Week. jewishweek.timesofisrael.com. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- "All This Has Come Upon Us". Graphic Arts Collection, Rare Books and Special Collections, Firestone Library. Princeton University. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
- Cipolla, Benedicta. Mark Podwal: A Vision Vaster than Words in Religion & Ethics News Weekly (PBS), February 17, 2006 (Episode no. 925)
- Random House. Mark Podwal: author spotlight
- Somerstein, Rachel. Mark Podwal: Yeshiva University Museum in ARTnews, June 2006
- Wecker, Menachem. Mark Podwal: Forum Gallery[permanent dead link] in "The Jewish Press", October 2008, and Mark Podwal's Doctored Drawings[permanent dead link] in "The Jewish Press", July 2007