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
Art Spiegelman's use of the comic book is both an innovative and problematic form of art and literary conveyance. Many survivors found Maus something that came close to blasphemy. The depiction of Jews as mice and Germans as cats seemed to be a somewhat unfitting reminder of German propaganda through films such as Hippler's The Eternal Jew (l940).
Spiegelman was the product of a thoroughly American environment of the late l950s and l960s, dominated by his interest in comic books and the untold story of his parents' survival. His mother, Anja, committed suicide in 1968. Subsequently, Spiegelman's father, Vladek, burned Anja's diaries. The loss of his mother as well as Anja's story was the stimulus for researching the true story of his parents' involvement in the Holocaust. The result was Art Spiegelman's more than forty hours of audio taping with Vladek Spiegelman, substantial technical and artistic research and the translating of that story into Maus.
Is Maus art? The art critic Adam Gopnik has tried to answer this interesting question:
If you ask educated people to tell you everything they know about the history and psychology of cartooning, they will robably offer something like this: cartoons (taking caricature, political cartooning, and comic strips all together as a single form) are a relic of the infancy of art, one of the earliest forms of visual communication (and therefore, by implication, especially well-suited to children); they are naturally funny and popular; and their gift is above all for the diminutive. 
Gopnik goes on to suggest the truth is actually the opposite and that cartoons represent "a relatively novel offspring of an extremely sophisticated visual culture." 
Previous exhibitions of Spiegelman's drawings have made it clear that he first utilized the format of Maus in Prisoner on the Hell Planet in l972. His first idea for the mouse metaphor was to apply it to the history of African Americans, but he soon applied it to the Jews. As Spiegelman progressed into the drawing of Maus, he became concerned with various aesthetic aspects that were important from the point of view of the visual artist. "He was becoming increasingly concerned with deconstructing the basic narrative and visual elements of the comic strip: How does one panel on a page relate to others? How do a strip's artificial cropping and use of pictorial illusion manipulate reality?...How do words and pictures combine in the human brain."  In this quest, the artist rejected photo-realism, elaborate detailing and shading, and ultimately developed a particular reduction process in which text was reduced to fit the artistic space.
from Stephen Feinstein, Witness and Legacy
La Centrale Dell'Arte (English and Italian)
Photographs of Art Spiegelman:
Maus Resources on the Web
Fish Rap Live!
Derek M. Powazek
Biographies and Chronologies:
Le Coin BD (French)
International Museum of Cartoon Art
National Museum of American Jewish History
art in context: Galleries and Dealers, Museums
art in context: Selected Exhibitions
Art Spiegelman's Maus in Basel, 1997
National Museum of American Jewish History
Art Spiegelman[Compiled byGeoffrey R. Mason]
Art Spiegelman[Reading Room Index to the Comic Art Collection, Special Collections Division, Michigan State University Libraries]
Art Spiegelman Research Homepage
Bibliography of Hard-Copy MAUS Resources
The Movies, Race and Ethnicity[A list of software reviews and book reviews of and articles on the CD-ROM version of Maus]
[Teacher's Guide for Maus I]. 1994.
Gordon P. Thomas. Graphic Autobiography: Using Maus in a Composition Class. 1996.
Two-color lithograph (pale teal and gray-to-black).
Articles by Art Spiegelman:
Getting in Touch with My Inner Racist. Mother Jones Interactive. September/October 1997.
those dirty little comics [Introduction to Tijuana Bibles: Art and Wit in America's Forbidden Funnies, 1930s-1950s]. Salon Magazine. August 1997.
Articles about Art Spiegelman:
Kasia Pindak And. Artist Delivers Comic Discourse. The Brown Daily Herald. 19 September 1997.
John Byrne. Pulitzer Winning Maus in the House. The Badger Herald. 10 September 1996.
Interviews with Art Spiegelman:
Harvey Blume. Art Spiegelman: Lips. Boston Book Review. 1 June 1995.
Chris Goffard. The Man Behind Maus: Art Spiegelman In His Own Words. Fish Rap Live! 1992. [Alternate site]
Gary Groth. [Spiegelman discusses the works of artists Jack Kirby and Robert Crumb]. The Comics Journal. [no date].
Maus I and II
The 21st Century. September 1996.
Richard Elberg. 14 May 1997.
Alix Partnow. [no date]
Ralf Dames. 1997. (in German)
Randy Horton. 3 March 1995.
Frank Kaspar. [no date]. (in German)
Sara Ryan. .
Jean Wang. 17 October 1996.
Jen Weintraub. March 1996.
Mark Woon. [no date].
Eugene P. Kannenberg, Jr. Form, Function, Fiction: Text and Image in the Comics Narratives of Winsor McCay, Art Spiegelman, and Chris Ware. 1996.
Robert S. Leventhal. Art Spiegelman's MAUS: Working Through The Trauma of the Holocaust. 1995.
Roy Rosenzweig. "So, What's Next for Clio?" CD-ROM and Historians. 1995. [A version of this article was originally published in The Journal of American History 81.4 (March 1995): 1621-1640.]
[Discussion of Maus I and Maus II]. The Holocaust/Genocide Project Computer Teleconference. May 1993.
Sara E. Allen. MAUS: A Narrative History of Family and Tragedy. .
Colin Edgerton. Maus and The Holocaust: An Investigation of Memory in Literature. .
Virginia Hamner. An Exploration of the Effects of the Holocaust on Survivors and Their Children. .
Peter Klomp. [A Comparison of Art Spiegelman's Maus and Erez Yakin's Silent City]. March 1998.
John McGowan. A Generation Removed? A look at the relationship between Vladek and Art Spiegelman. 12 May 1997.
Leah Marcus. Maus: The Book With a Thousand Faces. [no date].
Antonio S. Oliver. Art Spiegelman's MAUS: A Different Type of Holocaust Literature. Fall 1997.
Roshanna Sabaratnam. Maus. .
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PICTURES FROM THE EXHIBITION
Final drawings for Maus II,
Pages 23, 24, 25, 26, 27 and 28
Ink on paper, 24 x 30 (framed)
c. 1988-89. Collection of the Artist
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