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Steinberg, Saul

Saul Steinberg, 1914–99, American artist-cartoonist, b. Samnicul-Sarat, Romania. He attended the Univ. of Bucharest (1932) and the Reggio Politecnico, Milan (doctorate in architecture, 1940). Steinberg's work began to appear in the New Yorker in 1941, a year before he arrived in the United States, and was featured in the magazine's pages throughout his life. Since the 1940s his work also has been exhibited in museums and galleries. A superb draftsman with a singular vision, he elevated the cartoon to a fine art. Employing humor often tinged with irony, he portrayed the richness of the American scene, treated questions of identity and mutability, and visually commented on various political, social, and philosophical questions. Frequently his work is self-referential (as in his simplified paper-bag mask self-portraits), filled with visual puns, and includes art-historical references. One of his most famous images is a New Yorker's shortsighted world view (large Manhattan, small world). His work has been published in numerous collections, such as All in Line (1945), The New World (1965), and The Discovery of America (1992).

See his memoirs, Reflections and Shadows (2002), ed. by A. Buzzi; biography by D. Bair (2012); study by H. Rosenberg (1978); J. Smith, ed., Steinberg at the New Yorker (2005).

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