Author Cynthia Ozick has given Podwal the Hebrew name Baal Kav Emet, or "Master of the True Line." As she explains in her essay Ink & Inkling, "[Podwal] joins metaphysics to physics: essence to presence; ideas to real objects...The Master of the True Line is also master of hidden meanings, of symbol and metaphor."

Brooklyn-born Mark Podwal is not only a remarkable artist but a remarkable man, lacking formal training he has paralleled his artistic endeavors with a career in medicine and activism. He has exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the world with 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.

Podwal is most celebrated for his drawings on The New York Times OP-ED page. In addition, he is the illustrator, working in ink, pencil, gouache, acrylic, and watercolor, of numerous books that typically focus on Jewish legend, history and tradition. Including Jerusalem Sky: Stars, Crosses and Crescents; A Sweet Year; Doctored Drawings, among others. King Solomon and His Magic Ring, a collaboration with Elie Wiesel, won a Silver Medal from the Society of Illustrators in 1999 and You Never Know, his collaboration with Francine Prose, won a National Jewish Book Award in 1998.

Beyond his works on paper, Podwal’s artistry is versatile and his work is featured within an array of different 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.

Podwal is the initiator of 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. The program culminates with an exhibition of all of the drawings from each of the schools. The project has been carried out in Los Angeles, CA, Brooklyn and Binghamton, NY.

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Mark Podwal, "The Bread of Affliction," from The Haggadah with comments by Eli Wiesel, 1993 Mark Podwal, "The Bread of Affliction," from The Haggadah with comments by Eli Wiesel, 1993

Mark Podwal Mark Podwal

 

 

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