University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies
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CHGS

  • Art Spiegelman

    Art Spiegelman

    Art Speigelman Is a child of survivors from Poland, whose stories were the basis for his Pulitzer Prize winning book MAUS: A Survivor's Tale. Spiegelman founded RAW MAGAZINE (an avant-garde comic magazine) and has worked as a cartoonist for the New York Times.  He is known for changing people’s perspectives on what can be represented in cartoon formand for pioneering the historical graphic novel through the success of MAUS and MAUS ll. In 2004 he published in the Shadow of No Towers about 9/11 and in 2011 he published Meta Maus, which is the story of how he created his award winning novels.

    Artist Statement

    "Maus grew out of a comic strip I did in 1971 for an underground comic book: a three-page strip that was based on stories of my father's and mother's that I recalled being told in childhood... In 1977 I decided to do [a] longer work, [and] I set up an arrangement to see my father more often and talk to him about his experiences... Although I set about... to do a history of sorts, I'm all too aware that ultimately what I'm creating is a realistic fiction. The experiences my father actually went through [are not exactly the same as] what he's able to remember and what he's able to articulate of these experiences. Then there's what I'm able to understand of what he articulated, and what I'm able to put down on paper. And then of course there's what the reader can make of that... It's important to me that Maus is done in comic strip form, because it's what I'm most comfortable shaping and working with. Maus for me in part is a way of telling my parents' life and therefore coming to terms with it... It's not a matter of choice in the sense that I don't feel I could deal with this material as prose, or as a series of paintings, or as a film, or as poetry... In looking at other art and literature that's been shaped from the Holocaust--a historic term I find problematic--that material is often very high pitched... I feel a need for a more subdued approach, which would incorporate distancing devices like using these animal mask faces. Another aspect of the way I've chosen to use this material is that I've entered myself into the story. So the way the story got told and who the story was told to is as important [as] my father's narrative. To me that's at the heart of the work. --From Oral History, Journal. Spring 1987

    Artwork: Witness and Legacy

    Drawing for Maus II

    Maus II

    Drawing for Maus II, c.1988-89 Ink on paper
    9 1/4 x 6 1/2

    Despite the comic format, Spiegelman manages to convey the terror of the events his parents went through and survived.

    Maus II

    Drawing for Maus II, c.1988-89 Ink on paper
    9 1/4 x 6 1/2

    Note that Spiegelman is also providing the reader with factual information: his father's Auschwitz number, the problem of inadequate clothing, the brutality of the camps.

    maus Drawing for Maus II, page 24, 1988-89 Ink on paper
    9 1/4 x 6 1/2
    maus Full view.

    Page updated 2013.