Mark Podwal may be best known for his drawings on The New York Times OP-ED page. In addition, he is the author and illustrator of numerous books. Most of these works — Podwal’s own, as well as those he has illustrated for Elie Wiesel, Harold Bloom and Francine Prose, typically focus on Jewish legend, history and tradition. Since 1971, Mark Podwal’s drawings and watercolors have been exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide including Yale University, the Israel Museum, Musée des Arts Décoratifs Palais du Louvre, the Skirball Museum in Los Angeles and the Jewish Museum in Prague.
Mark Podwal’s works are represented in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Victoria and Albert Museum, the Fogg Art Museum, The Library of Congress, the New Orleans Museum of Art, among others. Beyond his works on paper, Podwal’s artistry has been employed in an array of diverse projects including an Aubusson tapestry and five torah mantles for Temple Emanu-El in New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has reproduced his art on ceramic plates, jewelry, a bookmark , color prints and notecards. In 1996, the French government named Podwal an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters. Hebrew College, Newton Centre, Massachusetts, in 2003 awarded him a Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa. In 2006, he designed sixteen kiln cast windows for the United Jewish Appeal Federation Headquarters in New York. Podwal recently collaborated with Academy Award winning filmmaker Allan Miller on House of Life: The Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague. The documentary, narrated by Claire Bloom, was broadcasted nationally by Channel Thirteen and PBS in April 2009. Podwal’s papers are archived in the Princeton University Library.
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 seven hundred 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.
He has exhibited at Forum Gallery since 1977. Also in 2011, he received the Jewish Cultural Achievement Award from the Foundation for Jewish Culture.
In 2014, at the Terezin Ghetto Museum there was an exhibition of Podwal’s cycle, All this has come upon us… The forty-two paintings and drawings, disturbing reminders of how Europe’s extensive history of “Jew-hatred” laid the groundwork for the Holocaust, have been published as archival pigment print portfolios. Portfolios have been acquired by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Vatican, Library of Congress, Yad Vashem, the Bodleian Library, the British Library, Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University, Columbia University, Hebrew University, National Library of Israel among many others.
Podwal’s current projects are his posters for each new Metropolitan Opera season and a series on Mozart and Prague, exhibited in Prague’s Klementinum.