Victor Weisz

Biography

Cartoonist. Born in Berlin 25 April 1913 of Hungarian-Jewish parents. 1924: began art studies at the Berlin Kunstschule. 1928: father committed suicide; to earn an income Weisz joined graphics department of anti-Nazi journal 12 Uhr Blatt, Berlin, as sports cartoonist. 1933: Nazis take over journal. As a Jew – and already known for his political caricatures - he knew he had no future in Nazi Germany (his Hungarian passport saved him from an early concentration camp) and went to Budapest in January 1934. October 1935: emigrated to London where he set up a studio on Park Lane and drew political ‘cartoons’ for the News Chronicle until 1958, then for the Daily Mirror, the Evening Standard, as well as for the New Statesman. His early style influenced by the leading British cartoonist of the day David Low. By 1944: using the pen-name ‘Vicky’ with publication of his 9 Drawings by Vicky (of the Indian famine).

He arrived in London ‘…the Hungarian-begot, Berlin-born, Jewish-reared descendant of uncountable mittel -European influences, sat down to flood and envelop himself in Anglo-Saxon mythology and mores …so that in the end he should be able to beat [the British] at their own game.’ (Cameron, 1967) And he did. By the mid 1950s he had earned an international reputation for his acerbic wit. He also worked for L’Express, Paris. 1958: Created the Macmillan (then Prime Minister) cartoon character, Supermac. Fellow of Society of Industrial Artists. ‘I hate injustice, I hate intolerance, racial intolerance, social injustice. I believe I’m a socialist because I’ve seen social injustice and want to put it right.’ (Cameron, 1967) He took his own life on 23 February 1966.

Writings by

  • Twists, 1962
  • Walter Amstutz (ed.), Who’s Who in Graphic Art, Zurich: Amstutz & Herdeg Graphis Press, 1962. , 1962
  • Vicky Must Go!, 1960
  • A Selection of ‘Evening Standard’ Cartoons, 1962
  • Home and Abroad, 1964.
  • 9 Drawings by Vicky (Indian famine), London: Modern Literature, 1944
  • Aftermath (of World War II), London: Alliance, 1946
  • Profiles and Personalities, 1946
  • The Editor Regrets, 1947
  • Up the Poll! (with Olga Katzin), London: Turnstile Press, 1950
  • Stabs in the Back, 1952
  • The Men Who Failed, 1956
  • New Statesman Profiles, 1957
  • Vicky’s World, 1959

Writings about

  • Der Spiegel, June 1949
  • Tributes (including Harold Wilson, Michael Foot and others), Tribune, 4 March 1966
  • Vicky, with commentary by James Cameron, London: Allen Lane The Penguin Press, 1967
  • Russell Davies and Liz Ottoway, Vicky, London: Secker & Warburg, 1987
  • Alan Horne, The Dictionary of 20th century British Book Illustrators, Woodbridge: Antique Collectors Club, 1994
  • Mark Bryant, ed., Vicky’s Supermac, London: Park McDonald, with Centre for the Study of Cartoons, University of Kent, 1996.
  • International Biographical Dictionary of Central European Emigrés 1933-45, Munich, New York, London, Paris: K.G. Saur, 1983., 1983
  • Kunst im Exil in Grossbritannien 1933-1945 (exh. cat.), Berlin: Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst and Verlag Frölich & Kaufmann, 1986. , 1986

Exhibitions

  • Lefèvre Gallery, London, 1937
  • Modern Art Gallery, London, 1943
  • Ben Uri Gallery, London, 1950
  • National Portrait Gallery, London, 1987
  • London Press Club, 2000.

Collections

  • Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricatures, University of Kent at Canterbury (England).