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Saul Steinberg

Steinberg at The New Yorker

About Saul Steinberg

Saul Steinberg (b. 1914, Râmnicul Sarat, Romania; d. 1999, New York) produced drawings, sculptures, photographs, and collages that continue to elicit critical contemplation. Having studied architecture in Milan, he fled wartime Italy in 1940 and became an American citizen three years later. Influenced by Dada, Surrealism, Cubism, and Pop, Steinberg’s varied output reflects the defiant humor, curiosity, and modernist attitude of an artist trying to make sense of the chaotic postwar period. Marked by a self-aware wit, his work embraces double meanings and philosophical content expressed through graphic means. Widely celebrated for his contributions to The New Yorker, Steinberg’s art became an exploration of social and political systems, language, and art itself.

Steinberg’s work is held in permanent collections internationally, including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; The Baltimore Museum of Art; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Jewish Museum, New York; Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among others.

Press Release

  • Steinberg at the New Yorker
    Steinberg at The New Yorker, an exhibition of more than 50 of Saul Steinberg’s original and variant covers and drawings that have appeared in The New Yorker over the past sixty years, will be on view at PaceWildenstein, 32 East 57th Street, New York from February 11 through March 5, 2005. Celebrating Steinberg’s long relationship with The New Yorker, the exhibition presents a rare opportunity to view Steinberg’s images in their original state, along with variant concepts that reveal the extraordinary range of the artist’s imagination. Beginning in 1941, Steinberg produced 90 covers and more than 1,200 drawings for The New Yorker. Steinberg at The New Yorker, organized in conjunction with The Saul Steinberg Foundation, features many significant works completed over a career of nearly six decades, including View of the World from 9th Avenue (1975), Looking East (1986), and The Dream of E (1961). The exhibition will also include the first public showing of The Line, from the 1950s, Steinberg’s signature conception of a continuous line that redefines itself as it moves across the page. Issuing from the artist’s pen, it quickly becomes a ground line for architecture, a clothesline, railroad tracks, and on and on until, more than 30 feet later, it is restored to the hand holding the pen. Steinberg at The New Yorker coincides with the publication of Joel Smith’s Steinberg at The New Yorker, with an introduction by Ian Frazier (Abrams). The exhibition and the book chronicle the artist’s nearly six decades of art for the magazine and coincide with the 80th anniversary of The New Yorker. Saul Steinberg (b. 1914, Ramnicul-Sarat, Romania – d. 1999, New York, NY) studied philosophy at the University in Bucharest before moving to Italy in 1933 to enroll as an architecture student at the Politecnico in Milan. Although he received his degree in 1940, the anti-Jewish racial laws in Fascist Italy proscribed him from practicing his profession. He fled Italy in 1941, waited a year in Santo Domingo for a US visa, and finally arrived in New York in 1942. Commissioned as an ensign in the US Navy, he spent World War II in China, North Africa, and Italy. He settled in New York after the war, but became an inveterate traveler. His journeys through the United States, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and India gave him a wide-ranging and acute perspective on the culture and mores of 20th-century life. Steinberg’s art became an exploration of social and political systems, language, and art itself. The exhibition presents a lifetime of such explorations through Steinberg’s many interpretations of the map, his evolving and often acerbic take on New York City and America, as well as the visual metaphors he constructed of words, numbers, and signs. Steinberg’s work has been the subject of more than eighty one-artist exhibitions in galleries and museums internationally since his first solo show in 1943, presented by Betty Parsons at the Wakefield Gallery in New York. The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York mounted a retrospective in 1978, which traveled to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; the Serpentine Gallery London; and the Fondation Maeght, Saint-Paul de Vence. IVAM, the Institute for Modern Art, Valencia, Spain, held a major exhibition in 2002. Other museum exhibitions include: the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1953); the Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hannover (1954); the Musée d’Art Moderne, Brussels (1967); the National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. (1973); Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne (1974); the Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio (1986); the Kunsthalle, Nuremberg (1988); and The Menil Collection, Houston (1999). Saul Steinberg’s work can be found in public collections worldwide, including: The Baltimore Museum of Art, MD; the Columbus Museum of Art, OH; The Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Musée d’Art Moderne, Brussels; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven.