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Which Do You Prefer?

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Which Do You Prefer?

ORIGINAL ART. New York, 1943. The Australian-American musician Aldridge and an American G.I. discuss music—and WWII—on a New York park bench.

Price: Upon Request

This drawing features Australian-born American pianist and composer Percy Aldridge Grainger and an American G.I. conversing while seated on a New York park bench. Grainger asks the soldier (or is it the other way around?): “Which do you prefer? The 6th of Tchaikovsky or the 7th of Shostakovich?” The response: “[I prefer] The 8th of Montgomery!”

During World War II, the Eighth Army (Great Britain), led by Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery, became famous among the Allies for its successes. The British Eighth Army defeated German Field Marshal Rommel (aka “The Desert Fox”) at the Second Battle of El Alamein in the first weeks of November 1942, a decisive battle that eventually led to the surrender of the Axis forces in North Africa (May 1943). Eighth Army later joined forces with the British First Army and the U.S. Seventh Army for the Italian Campaign.

“Which do you prefer?” Original pen and ink drawing. SIGNED and dated by “Arthur Szyk, New York, 1943”. Image size measures 5 1/2 inches x 3 1/2 inches.

Provenance: Mrs. Arthur Szyk Sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, November 27, 1963. Lot no. 55c.