Saul Steinberg

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Saul Steinberg
Born Saul Erik Steinberg
(1914-06-15)June 15, 1914
Râmnicu Sărat, Romania
Died May 12, 1999(1999-05-12) (aged 84)
New York City, New York, United States

Saul Erik Steinberg (June 15, 1914 – May 12, 1999) was a Romanian and American cartoonist and illustrator, best known for his work for The New Yorker, most notably View of the World from 9th Avenue. He described himself as "a writer who draws".[1]


Steinberg was born in Râmnicu Sărat, Buzău, Romania. He studied philosophy for a year at the University of Bucharest, then later enrolled at the Politecnico di Milano, studying architecture and graduating in 1940. During his years in Milan he was actively involved in the satirical magazine Bertoldo.

Steinberg left Italy after the introduction of anti-Semitic laws by the Fascist government.[2] He spent a year in the Dominican Republic awaiting a U.S. visa; in the meantime, he submitted his cartoons to foreign publications. In 1940, he was given commissions from various magazines and newspapers and sold cartoons to Harper’s Bazaar and Life.[3] In 1942, The New Yorker magazine, after having published his first cartoon in 1941, sponsored his entry into the United States, and thus began Steinberg's lifelong relationship with the publication. Through well over half a century working with The New Yorker, Steinberg created 87 covers, 33 cartoons and 71 portfolios containing 469 drawings and several hundred other works amounting to more than 1,200 drawings.[3][4]

During World War II, he worked for military intelligence, stationed in China, North Africa, and Italy. After the war's end, he returned to work for American periodicals, merging an encyclopedic knowledge of European art with the popular American art form of the cartoon, to pioneer a uniquely urbane style of illustration.[5] Although best remembered for his commercial work, Steinberg did exhibit his work throughout his career at fine art museums and galleries. He married Romanian born abstract expressionist painter Hedda Sterne in 1944. They never divorced but Steinberg had "a coterie of mistresses and lovers".[6]

In 1946, Steinberg, along with artists such as Arshile Gorky, Isamu Noguchi, and Robert Motherwell, was exhibited in the critically acclaimed "Fourteen Americans" show at The Museum of Modern Art.[4] He has also enjoyed a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art (1978) and another posthumous one at the Institute for Modern Art in Valencia (IVAM), Spain (2002).[4]

After Steinberg's death on May 12, 1999, the Saul Steinberg Foundation was established in accordance with the artist's will. In addition to functioning as Steinberg's official estate, the Foundation is also a non-profit organization with a mission "to facilitate the study and appreciation of Saul Steinberg's contribution to 20th-century art" and to "serve as a resource for the international curatorial-scholarly community as well as the general public".[7] The Foundation has been instrumental in organizing the Saul Steinberg: Illuminations travelling exhibition, which will display original Steinberg works at various museum and galleries around the world, including Fondation Cartier-Bresson, Paris (May 6 – July 27, 2008), Kunsthaus Zürich (August 22 – November 2, 2008), Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, (November 26, 2008 – February 15, 2009) and Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, (March 13 – June 1, 2009).[8] The U.S. copyright representative for the Saul Steinberg Foundation is the Artists Rights Society.[9] The Saul Steinberg Foundation is represented by The Pace Gallery in New York.

Saul Steinberg is mentioned by Kurt Vonnegut as "the wisest person I ever met in my entire life” in his essay collection A Man Without a Country.


See also


  1. Nicholas Garland (2 December 2008). "Saul Steinberg: Illuminations at the Dulwich Picture Gallery". The Telegraph.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Life and Work". The Saul Steinberg Foundation. Retrieved 2007-12-03.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 Grace Gkueck (1 December 2006). "The World, and the City, According to Steinberg". The New York Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 The Saul Steinberg Foundation website: Life and Work page
  5. Steinberg's Signatures by Ben Davis, Artnet Magazine
  6. Jill Krementz. "Jill Krementz covers Saul Steinberg". New York Social Diary. Retrieved 2015-04-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. The Saul Steinberg Foundation website
  8. The Saul Steinberg Foundation website: News page
  9. The Saul Steinberg Foundation website: Rights page

External links