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Meet : Saul Steinberg

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This will be the first of many "Meet..." posts by the Crafts Dept. It will be our way of sharing inspiring people and work that we have enjoyed for years, or recently discovered. We all have different aesthetics and backgrounds, which should make for a very exciting collection!

Saul Steinberg's (1914-1999) body of work includes drawing, painting, print, collage, and sculpture, but he is probably best known for his whimsical illustrations. For example, this New Yorker cover comments on the "New York centricity " of many Manhattanites (Steinberg was a long-time resident himself).

Saul Steinberg New Yorker Cover

I was not aware of the broad spectrum of Steinberg's work until I saw a show of his work at the Morgan Library in New York a couple of years ago. The range of his creative expression is impressive, and the volume and whimsy of his work shows how much he loved to do it. These simple line drawings on unusual surfaces are genius-

Saul Steinberg Man on Cardboard Box

 

girl-in-bathtub-saul-steinberg

So is the use of ledger paper in this mixed media drawing. Simple and accessible, yet very sophisticated in concept and execution.

Saul Steinberg Leger Paper collage

For more examples of Steinberg's extraordinary uses of ordinary materials, see Masquerade, a collaborative work with photographer Inge Morath. This book is a collection of portaits taken by Morath between the years of 1959 to 1963. The subjects are photographed wearing masks, drawn by Steinberg on paper bags and cardboard boxes.

Saul Steinberg Masks

Other examples of Steinberg's craftiness can be found in his use of ink stamps. Below is "10 Japan sunsets" (1971), created with ink, watercolor, and rubber stamps on paper.

Saul Steinberg, 10 Japan Sunsets, 1971

I love this work "Nine Postcards" (1969), made of, you guessed it, nine postcards and one rubber stamp.

Saul Steinberg Nine postcards

Can you recognize what was used to print these little people in "Group Photo" (1953)?

Saul Steinberg, Group Photo

 

 

 

 

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