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Saul Steinberg: The Americans

Saul Steinberg - Mainstreet
At the Museum Ludwig, Cologne (March 23-June 23, 2013), Steinberg's colossal mural-collage, made for the US Pavilion at the 1958 Brussels World's Fair, can be seen in its entirety for the first time in nearly 60 years. The 8-section mural, with a total length of 240 feet, presents a panorama of American life as seen through Steinberg's inventive eye. From the teeming big city to farmland, from baseball to cocktail parties, the collaged figures reveal the artist's engagement with his adopted country and the art of his time. More than 70 other Steinberg drawings, photographs, and collages of the period set the murals in the context of his smaller-scale works.
A fully illustrated catalogue is available. European distribution:
US distribution:


SteinbergAt the Galería A/34, Barcelona (November 11, 2011-January 28, 2012). More than thirty works—drawings, paintings, prints, and sculpture—represent a fifty-year span of Steinberg’s career. Together, they reveal the imaginative scope of the artist’s visual explorations, from the send-up of a Latin proverb, false documents, and street life, to allegory, rubber stamp journeys, landscapes, and domestic relations.

Saul Steinberg: As aventuras da linha
(Saul Steinberg: The Adventures of the Line)
The Adventures of the LineAt the Institutio Moreira Salles, Rio de Janeiro (May 28-August 21, 2011) and the Pinacoteca do Estado, São Paulo, Brazil (September 3-November 6, 2011). Organized by Roberta Saraiva, for the IMS and Pinacoteca, the exhibition commemorates and expands Steinberg’s famous solo show in São Paulo in 1952. More than 100 works, focusing on the 1940s and 1950s, are divided thematically, as was the original exhibition. Parades, cowboys, railroads, women, cities—among other subjects—reveal the way Steinberg tested the possibilities and limits of themes and techniques. The apparent simplicity of the drawings masks Steinberg’s ever-rigorous construction and precision. Also on view in the exhibition are the four long drawings Steinberg made for the Children’s Labyrinth at the 10th Triennial of Milan in 1954. Cities of Italy, Types of Architecture, Shores of the Mediterranean, and The Line, which range in length from 9 to 33 feet and were specially restored for the exhibition, are here seen together for the first time in sixty years.

Cartoon Polymaths

Cartoon PolymathsAt the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery in the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, Parsons/The New School for Design, New York (February 4-April 15, 2011). While the word cartoon is usually associated with humorous line drawing, the form has a deep influence across many types of art and design, from animation and children’s books to puppetry and product design. What is it about the cartoon that permits—or enables—such an evolution? Cartoon Polymaths is an exhibition of multimedia work by high-profile artists, among them Saul Steinberg, whose work proceeds from a cartoon sensibility.

Saul Steinberg: L’Écriture visuelle/Visual Writing

Saul Steinberg at the New YorkerAt the Musée Tomi Ungerer, Strasbourg (November 27, 2009-February 28, 2010). Nearly 120 works, photographs, and archival material borrowed from European collections. Curated by Thérèse Willer, the exhibition and catalogue present the full range of Steinberg’s art in all its graphic variety. The installation, organized thematically, covers such subjects as false documents, literature, music, man-animal, masks, landscape, architecture, and America.

"I am a writer who draws," Steinberg once said. With this declaration in mind, the exhibition focuses on his drawings, paintings, and relief sculptures as a form of visual writing, a means of commenting on the social and political world of the 20th century no less than on art itself. Also included is a section entitled "The Heirs," which reveals Steinberg's influence on French and American cartoonists and illustrators.

Saul Steinberg: Illuminations

Saul Steinberg at the New YorkerThis major traveling retrospective, the first comprehensive look at Steinberg's extraordinary contribution to 20th-century art, completed its 8-stop American and European tour in June 2009. Steinberg's role, in curator Joel Smith's presentation, was that of a modern-day illuminator, putting word and image in play to create art that spoke to the eyes, and minds, of readers. The exhibition assembled examples of the remarkable range of works Steinberg produced during his prolific 60-year career--drawings, paintings, sculptures, photographs, prints, paper-bag masks, collages, murals, holiday cards, and stage sets--many of them never before exhibited.

Organized by the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, the exhibition opened at The Morgan Library and Museum, New York, in 2006, then traveled the following year to the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., and the Cincinnati Art Museum; the US tour closed at the Lehman Loeb Art Center. The European tour began at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson in 2008 and continued on to the Kunsthaus Zürich, the Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, and the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg.

The European tour of Steinberg: Illuminations was supported by a generous grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art, with additional funding from PaceWIldenstein Gallery.

Saul Steinberg - catalogue coverSaul Steinberg

At the Galerie Claude Bernard, Paris (October 2-November 29, 2008), a selection of 26 works covering 50 years of Steinberg’s art, from a 1946 drawing of Arthur Rimbaud, one of Steinberg’s culture heroes, to the artist’s take, in the mid-1990s, on the year 2000.

Sterne and Steinberg: Critics Within

At The Menil Collection, Houston (May 23-August 17, 2008). Guest curated by Sarah Eckhardt, the exhibition presented a focused and intimate look at the shared interests of Steinberg and his wife, Hedda Sterne, in the 1940s and 1950s, their years together. Although their work looks very different, both artists, from within their circle of New York artists, dealt with issues of artistic subjectivity and American life at the height of the Abstract Expressionist movement.

L'Art Contemporain à l'Exposition Universelle Expo '58

This exhibition (May 16-September 21, 2008) commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the 1958 Brussels World's Fair. For the occasion, three sections of Steinberg's mural The Americans were reassembled (Main Street--Small Town, Downtown--Big City, and Cocktail Party) and displayed with other contemporary art at the Fair . For the 2013 exhibition of the entire mural at the Museum Ludwig, Cologne, see above.


Mario Tedeschini Lalli, “Descent from Paradise: Saul Steinberg’s Italian Years, 1933-1941.” Published in Quest: Issues in Contemporary Jewish History, no. 2, October 2011.

Saul SteinbergIn 1933, Steinberg left his native Romania to study architecture in Milan. Three years later, he began to publish gag cartoons in Italian humor newspapers, drawings that mark the earliest stage in his artistic formation. To Steinberg, Milan was a “paradise”—until 1938, when the institution of anti-Semitic racial laws deprived him of an income, a profession, and a legal residence. It took him three years to escape Italy, some of which he spent in hiding and in an internment camp. This part of Steinberg’s life has remained largely unknown, since the artist was reluctant to speak of it. Tedeschini Lalli, using several unpublished archival sources, sheds new light on the period. The essay is illustrated with photographs, documents, and drawings; also published, for the first time in English, is the text of a journal Steinberg kept during his last nine months in Italy.

Saul Steinberg: As aventuras da linha

Saul Steinberg: As aventuras da linhaThis magnificent full-color 317-page catalogue of the two-stop exhibition in Brazil includes an essay by curator Roberta Saraiva; another by Rodrigo Naves; newly published material from the archives of the Museu de Arte de São Paulo concerning Steinberg’s September-October visit in 1952; an illustrated diary of that visit by Saraiva and Daniel Bueno; complete publication of the two sketchbooks the artist made during these months; documentary photographs; translations of essays by Grace Glueck and Adam Gopnik; as well as a detailed chronology. In Portuguese.

Saul Steinberg with Aldo Buzzi, Reflexos e sombras, translated by Samuel Titan, Jr.

Saul Steinberg: As aventuras da linhaReflections and Shadows, the volume of Steinberg’s recollections previously published in Italian (2001), English, German, and French (2002) has now been issued in a new Portuguese translation by the Instituto Moreira Salles (2011). Nearly fifty color images and photographs have been added; together, they illuminate Steinberg’s text and provide a separate visual commentary.

Saul Steinberg: The LineThe Line

The Line (1954), a 33-foot-long drawing with 29 folded panels is Steinberg’s manifesto about the conceptual possibilities of the line and the artist who gives them life. His drawing hand begins and ends the sequence, as the simple horizontal line that hand creates metamorphoses into, among other things, a water line, laundry line, railroad track, sidewalk, arithmetic division line, or table edge; near the end, the curlicues etched by the iceskater’s blade remind us of the role calligraphy plays in Steinberg’s art. As it shifts meaning from one passage to the next, Steinberg’s line comments on its own transformative nature. The entire drawing has now been published by Nieves Books in a beautifully printed accordion foldout.

Saul Steinberg, “Portraits and Landscapes,” The Paris Review, no. 195 (Winter 2010), pp. 27-36.

Steinberg’s unpublished musings on people and places, accompanied by eight drawings.

Portraits & Landscapes Portraits & Landscapes

Saul Steinberg: L'Écriture visuelle.

Saul Steinberg by Iain ToplissA fully illustrated 200-page catalogue of the exhibition at the Musée Tomi Ungerer, published by Éditions des Musées de Strasbourg, 2009. In French. Includes catalogue entries on each work, a biography and bibliography, as well as a memoir by Steinberg’s niece, Daniela Roman; essays by Iain Topliss on Steinberg’s “art of living,” Philippe Dagen on “Steinberg, postmodernist?”, Jean-Philippe Theyskens on Steinberg’s mural “The Americans” at the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair, and Thérèse Willer, curator of the show and organizer of the catalogue, writing on Steinberg’s legacy.


Saul Steinberg: Illuminations,
the richly illustrated catalogue of the retrospective exhibition, is the first scholarly treatment of Steinberg's art. Published by Yale University Press, with an introduction by Charles Simic and essay and catalogue entries by Joel Smith. Its 288 pages and more than 300 reproductions include all the works in the show, along with previously unseen sketches, documents, and printed matter from the artist's papers as well as an extensive bibliography and career chronology.

German edition published by Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2008.

Saul Steinberg by Iain Topliss Saul Steinberg, with an introduction by Iain Topliss, Delpire Éditeur, Paris. With more than 120 reproductions, this 5th volume in Delpire's Poche Illustrateur series offers a wide-ranging survey of Steinberg's career, from his cartoons of the early 1940s through his magazine features, drawings and gallery art, to the deeply personal work of his late years. Page after page reveals Steinberg's witty, incisive take on 20th-century life, seen through an eye never satisfied with one style, one way of rendering the world. Available in French.


Saul Steinberg, with an introduction by Philippe Dagen, a full-color, 80-page catalogue of the exhibition at the Galerie Claude Bernard, Paris, including details of many of the works. With chronology, exhibition history, and bibliography. In French and English.

Saul Steinberg at The New Yorker by Joel SmithSteinberg at The New Yorker, by Joel Smith, with an introduction by Ian Frazier, 240 pages, 363 illustrations (Harry N. Abrams, 2005). Nearly six decades of Steinberg's covers are reproduced in color, along with many examples of inside art, from black-line drawings to elaborate color portfolios.




La ligne de Steinberg/Steinberg's Line

Saul Steinberg at The New Yorker by Joel SmithSaul Steinberg at The New Yorker by Joel Smith

This 26-minute documentary, the first made about Steinberg since his death in 1999, was directed by his niece, Daniela Roman. It is a portrait and tribute by French cartoonists--Cabu, Desclozeaux, Geluck, Siné, Trez, and Wolinski--comprising interviews intercut with Steinberg drawings and footage from a 1968 film of Steinberg drawing and creating masks.
Available in French and in French with English subtitles: