"GAZ" ("GAS"; or "Gas Attack") a portfolio of 24 lithographs by Gyula Zilzer

GAZ (GAS; or Gas Attack) a portfolio of 24 lithographs by Gyula Zilzer

"GAZ" ("GAS"; or "Gas Attack") a portfolio of 24 lithographs

Gyula Zilzer

Please call us at 707-546-7352 or email artannex@aol.com to purchase this item.

"GAZ" ("GAS"; or "Gas Attack") a portfolio of 24 lithographs


Gyula Zilzer

  1898 - 1969 (biography)
1932 /published 1933 
Image Size
various (overall size approx: 12-1/4 x 9-1/4") 
signed in the plates, in image, lower edge 
Edition Size
not stated 
dated in the plates after signature; typset introductory page; loose 2-page/four panel insert with translated letter written by Albert Einstein 
cream wove (wood pulp base) 
Labor Arts, New York; originally published by Editions du Phare, Paris, 1932 
Inventory ID
Price On Request 

In 1932 Hungarian Jewish artist Gyula Zilzer was living in France, having fled Budapest in 1924 as violent anti-Semitic sentiment began to take hold. After witnessing the cruelty of politically manufactured social divisions and the use of chemical warfare during the First World War, he now observed that there seemed to be no end in sight to the looming unrest proselytized by Hitler's National Socialist Party and Mussolini's Fascist party. In Paris, he worked for the leftist publications L'Humanité and Clarté and had a community in which he could express his fear and anger over Europe's descent into chaos.

Nearly a decade after the success and controversy of his first anti-totalitarian lithographic portfolio Kaleidoskop (1924), he turned his attention to the current political climate. In 1932, he created GAZ, an Expressionist visual commentary on the extraordinary evils of contemporary warmongering. Presented as a timeline, we see the beginnings of unrest, the manipulation of media by leaders, the development of tortuous weaponry by scientists, the first bombing campaigns on cities and rural towns, utter destruction on poorer citizens as the wealthy elite swim, ski, and lounge within a small strip of paradise. We see people of all ages in the throes of death due to bombs and gassing, and the seemingly insurmountable powers of destruction presented as looming monsters. Finally, we see the people rising up and fighting back on the final page: a ray of hope. The images are harrowing and frank, yet still eloquent. Nothing is left unsaid.

Zilzer's portfolio is one of the most unflinching commentaries on Western civilization's primary weakness - power for power's sake, at any cost - created before the advent of the nuclear bomb. Upon its publication, Albert Einstein wrote a note to his longtime friend Zilzer, ending it: "...May this book receive the attention it so well deserves and may it be instrumental in awakening the conscience of mankind." (Full note published in the four-panel insert which accompanies this portfolio.)

GAZ was first published in 1932 in a limited edition on fine paper by Editions du Phare, Grande Librairie Universelle, Paris. The following year, after an exhibition of the works received a positive reaction in the U.S., the union publishers Labor Arts in New York obtained permission to reprint the lithographs, printed on an economical paper and bound in a spiral spine for more accessible distribution. Each plate is signed and dated in the lower half of the image and includes its Roman numeral. The typeset text of the preface by Romain Rollard is printed in French, German, and English, and included in this copy of the American reproduction is a reproduction of Einstein's note to Zilzer and its English translation.

Please call us at 707-546-7352 or email artannex@aol.com to purchase this item.