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Last updated: 1/25/2017
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Saul Steinberg (American, 1914-1999)

Valerio Adami, Joan Gardy Artigas, Richard Avedon, Enrico Baj, Elizabeth Blackadder, Richard Bosman, Christo, Robert Cottingham, Allan D'Arcangelo, Jim Dine, Robert Indiana, Jasper Johns, Alex Katz, R. B. Kitaj, Nicholas Krushenick, Roy Lichtenstein, Richard Lindner, Claes Oldenburg, Peter Phillips, Mel Ramos, Robert Rauschenberg, Larry Rivers, James Rosenquist, George Segal, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Saul Steinberg, Andy Warhol, John Wesley, and Tom Wesselmann
Saul Steinberg is remembered as the reigning 20th-century American illustrator. Born in Romania in 1914, Steinberg studied at the University of Bucharest, before moving to Italy, where he received his doctorate in architecture in 1940. Though Steinberg first proved himself in the academic realm, he carried an underlying passion for drawing that became recognized when the New Yorker magazine published one of his cartoons in 1941. A year later, Steinberg moved to the United States, and in 1943, married Hedda Sterne, the Abstract Expressionist artist. He settled permanently in Manhattan. Steinberg once said that “doodling is the brooding of the hand.” This he demonstrated through his cartoons, which were less comical than a grim portrayal of life in the United States. Steinberg often drew impressions of life in New York, showing both its towering impressiveness, as well as its bleak oppressiveness. “America was made to order for Steinberg,” the renowned art critic, Harold Rosenberg, declared. John Updike also admired Steinberg, writing, “Like Vladimir Nabokov and Louis B. Mayer, Steinberg is a discoverer of the United States.”

Without using words, Steinberg was a genius for showing how people communicate. He showed signs or symbols that were universally recognized. Using the line as a catalyst for emotion, Steinberg truly went where no other cartoonist had gone before. Whether bending lines gently to portray sadness, or spiraling them to express confusion, Steinberg was a master at conveying the unspeakable. Steinberg’s cartoons are considered fine art; as innovative as the work of Picasso and Duchamp. Steinberg’s work has been described as often combining cubism and pointalism. At his death in 1999, Steinberg left behind volumes of illustrations, as well as an irreplaceable hole in the New Yorker. “People who see a drawing in the New Yorker will think automatically that it’s funny because it is a cartoon. If they see it in a museum, they think it’s artistic; and if they find it in a fortune cookie it is a prediction.” When Steinberg said these words, did he realize his art would cross boundaries? His work speaks to an audience wide enough to read the New Yorker, visit museums, and take pleasure in the gastronomical delights of a Chinese restaurant (by Melissa Bannigan).

Selected Bibliography: Michel Butor, Saul Steinberg. Le Masque (Paris: Maeght, 1966); Inge Morath, Saul Steinberg Masquerade (NY: Viking Penguin, 2000); Gerd Leufert, Exposicion Saul Steinberg (Caracas; Museo de Bellas Artes, 1968); Harold Rosenberg, Saul Steinberg (NY: Alfred A. Knopf / Whitney Museum of American Art, 1978); Art Spiegelman, The New Yorker Saul Steinberg Memorial Issue (NY: The New Yorker, 1999); Saul Steinberg, The Discovery of America (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992); Saul Steinberg, Ölbilder, Gouachen, Zeichnungen (Zürich: Galerie Maeght, 1971); Steinberg Saul, Zeichnungen, Aquarelle, Collagen, Gemälde, Reliefs 1963-1974 (Hannover: Kestner-Gesellschaft, n.d.)
Taxi. Original color lithograph with foil collage, 1977. 150 signed and numbered impressions. The deluxe version of a poster for an exhibition at Galerie Maeght, it revisits in stone lithography an earlier drawing and augments it with the audition of some collaged foil. Image size: 785x597mm. Price: $1600. (There is no discoloring on the print, just the photograph; the background top and bottom is a uniform white.)
Homage to Aime Maeght. Original color lithograph, 1982. 15, 000 portfolios were printed, but distribution was halted by Aime Maeght's son after his father's death. According to Claude Garache (who executed 2 lithographs for the portfolio), this work is very difficult to find on the market. Image size: 380x280mm. Price: $250.
Still life with apple. Original color lithograph, 1982. 15, 000 portfolios were printed, but distribution was halted by Aime Maeght's son after his father's death. According to Claude Garache (who executed 2 lithographs for the portfolio), this work is very difficult to find on the market. Image size: 380x280mm. Price: $200.

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