Steinberg at the New Yorker

Overview

For six decades, Saul Steinberg's covers, cartoons, features, and illustrations were a defining presence at The New Yorker. As the magazine became a standard-bearer of taste and intelligence in American letters, Steinberg's drawings emerged as its visual epitome. This richly illustrated book, featuring Joel Smith's astute text and a captivating introduction by the artist's friend and colleague Ian Frazier, explores the remarkable range and unceasing evolution of a major American modernist-one whose art reached a ...
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Overview

For six decades, Saul Steinberg's covers, cartoons, features, and illustrations were a defining presence at The New Yorker. As the magazine became a standard-bearer of taste and intelligence in American letters, Steinberg's drawings emerged as its visual epitome. This richly illustrated book, featuring Joel Smith's astute text and a captivating introduction by the artist's friend and colleague Ian Frazier, explores the remarkable range and unceasing evolution of a major American modernist-one whose art reached a grateful public not from museum walls but from the pages of the periodical he called "my refuge, patria, and safety net."

All Steinberg's New Yorker covers appear here in full color, along with over 130 examples of inside art, from black-line drawings to elaborate color portfolios. Also included are Steinberg's most beloved, intuitive, and brilliant inspirations, among them a New York populated with stoical cats, precocious children, puzzled couples, and a menagerie of vivid grotesques. A vibrant celebration of one of the most original and engaging artists of the 20th century, Steinberg at The New Yorker brings alive a genius, a magazine, and an era.

Author Bio: Joel Smith has been the Fisher Curator at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College since 1999. He is the author of Edward Steichen: The Early Years. Ian Frazier is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker. His previous books include the national bestseller Great Plains.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
With his mordant wit and edge of fantasy, Saul Steinberg was, for 60 years, an essential presence on The New Yorker's cover and interior pages. While respecting the cartoon as a form in its own right, this book is revelatory in uncovering the European roots and Surrealist inspiration behind Steinberg's oeuvre. If there was ever any doubt, this beautiful volume demonstrates that Steinberg was a great artist -- one deserving of a place among the great creators of 20th-century art.
Charles Simic
Steinberg loved finding a visual equivalent for phrases like ''the pursuit of happiness'' or ''ship of state'' (which in his hand looked more like a ship of fools). As far as he was concerned, our views of nature, and of the nation, are ruled by clichés. He may have started as a wry observer of his fellow New Yorkers, but he ended up as a comic philosopher. One comes away from his work convinced that only a comic sensibility can grasp the character of our country and our national myths. Of course, what makes him one of the most original artists of the last century is not only his humor but also his ability as draftsman and painter. Although he is often left out of surveys of American art, he seems to me, on strictly aesthetic grounds, to be a much more considerable figure than many of his more famous contemporaries. This marvelous volume makes the point eloquently.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Steinberg's high-concept graphic art-epitomized by his oft-imitated cartoon map in which a Manhattan distended with self-importance shoves the continents of North America and Asia to the margins-is enchantingly showcased in this lavishly illustrated retrospective of his work for the New Yorker. Smith, a curator at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar and author of Edward Steichen: The Early Years, surveys six decades of Steinberg's pieces, including all 89 New Yorker covers (in full color), cartoons, wartime sketches from overseas, evocative (but never literal-minded) illustrations for articles, and unpublished items from the artist's portfolio. The material is arranged thematically, examining such recurring motifs as cats, pedestals and rubber-stamped figures and documenting the turn to visual metaphor in Steinberg's later work, where symbolic graphic representations of sound, abstract relationships and existential conundrums replace the usual scenario-with-verbal-punch line cartoon setup. Smith's pithy biographical essay situates Steinberg as a self-conscious modernist who helped develop a distinctive New Yorker visual style, one with "a wry, informal wit... attuned to the jittery optimism of the Atomic Age." Steinberg's cartoons usually made readers think before they laughed, and so will this splendid memorial to a 20th-century artistic landmark. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810959019
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/28/2005
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 712,279
  • Product dimensions: 10.37 (w) x 12.25 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 8
Steinberg at The New Yorker 13
At war 50
Discovering a city 58
American allegories 64
Travelogue 68
Playland USA 76
Natural history 80
Art world 88
Cat people 94
Thought and spoken 100
In the mail 110
Action writing 114
The good life 122
Certified landscapes 126
Reality stamped out 132
On a pedestal 136
The sexes 146
Mean streets 154
Domestic animals 164
Seeing through metaphors 172
A self-made world 182
Drawn from life 186
Steinberg's century 190
American scenes 198
Inner city 210
Mapping time 220
The covers, 1945-2004 230
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