Saul Steinberg Milano Galleria 1951 Yellowtrace
TRAVELLING IN ITALY – MILAN
Saul Steinberg, Gallery of Milan, 1951
ink, grease pencil and watercolour on paper
Private collection
© The Saul Steinberg Foundation/Artists
Rights Society (ARS) New York.

Evelyn Hofer, Saul Steinberg with his hand, New York 1978
Evelyn Hofer, Saul Steinberg with his hand,
New York 1978, © Estate of Evelyn Hofer.

 

Saul Steinberg Cover Of The New Yorker 1963 YellowtraceSaul Steinberg, Cover of The New Yorker, Oct
12, 1963
© The Saul Steinberg Foundation /Artists
Rights Society (ARS), New York
Cover reprinted with permission of The New
Yorker magazine. All rights reserved.

Saul Steinberg Cover Of The New Yorker 1976 YellowtraceSaul Steinberg, Cover of The New Yorker,
Mar.29, 1976
© The Saul Steinberg Foundation /Artists
Rights Society (ARS), New York
Cover reprinted with permission of The New
Yorker magazine. All rights reserved.

 

Saul Steinberg (1914-1999) was a Romanian American artist who made significant contributions to the 20th Century through his cartoons and illustrations. Steinberg’s extraordinary imagination allowed him to explore social and political systems, human weaknesses, geography, architecture, language and, of course, art itself. Best known for his work published in ‘The New Yorker’, the collaboration lasted for sixty years, during which he signed ninety covers. Right from the start his graphic work was recognised and appreciated as an authentic form of art.

Born on June 15, 1914, in Râmnicu Sarat, a small town north of Bucharest, to Jewish middle-class parents, Steinberg spent most of his childhood in Bucharest after moving there in 1915. While some of his family had already emigrated to America in the late nineteenth century, his parents made a home in the capital city where his dad Moritz set up a bookbinding shop and then began to produce decorative boxes.

He started his formal education in the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters at the University of Bucharest in 1936 where he excelled yet a rising anti-semitic atmosphere that was building within the university and Romania as a whole kept him from regularly attending courses. With the anti-semitic environment only growing during his time there, in September 1933 he applied for admission to the Faculty of Architecture but was denied entrance due to a quota system limiting the number of Jewish students who could be accepted.

 

Saul Steinberg Untitled 1950 Yellowtrace
CAMOUFLAGES / METAMORPHOSIS
Saul Steinberg, Senza titolo, c.1950
silver gelatin print
The Saul Steinberg Foundation
© The Saul Steinberg Foundation/Artists
Rights Society (ARS) New York.

Ph Michele Alberto Sereni
CAMOUFLAGES / THE NOSE
Saul Steinberg, Poster for the Spoleto Festival, 1969
Crayon, graphite, ink and rubber stamp on cut
and torn brown kraft paper, collaged on paper
private collection, Ph. Michele Sereni, Pesaro
© The Saul Steinberg Foundation/Artists
Rights Society (ARS) New York

Saul Steinberg Untitled 1959 62 Yellowtrace
CAMOUFLAGES / THE MASKS
Saul Steinberg, Untitled, 1959-62
ink, pastel, pencil, oil pastels and collage
on a cut brown paper bag
The Saul Steinberg Foundation, New York
© The Saul Steinberg Foundation/Artists
Rights Society (ARS) New York.

Saul Steinberg Untitled 1949 54 Yellowtrace
THE CHILDREN’S LABYRINTH
Saul Steinberg, Untitled, 1949-54
ink and pencil on paper on paper
The Saul Steinberg Foundation, New York
© The Saul Steinberg Foundation/Artists
Rights Society (ARS) New York.

Saul Steinberg Untitled 1953 Yellowtrace
THE CHILDREN’S LABYRINTH
Saul Steinberg, Untitled, 1953
ink on paper
Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense, Milano
© The Saul Steinberg Foundation/Artists
Rights Society (ARS) New York.

 

Instead, he went to Milan and enrolled in the Faculty of Architecture of the Regio Politecnico, arriving in the city in November. The years he spent in Milan were crucial to Steinberg’s education: here he met Aldo Buzzi, Alberto Lattuada, Cesare Zavattini, Giovanni Guareschi and many others who helped shape his worldview. From 1936 he started working for the twice-weekly humour newspaper ‘Bertoldo’ but in 1938 the Fascist regime introduced racial laws and Steinberg risked expulsion from Italy — he was able however to complete his studies in 1940.

After various ups and downs, including being arrested and confined in an internment camp, he managed to leave for Santo Domingo, where he spent a year waiting for a US visa. He finally arrived in New York in July 1942. Not long after, in February 1943 he was commissioned as an officer in the US Navy and received American citizenship. At the same time, he met the painter Hedda Sterne, also a Romanian immigrant. Assigned by the Navy to the intelligence service (OSS), Steinberg travelled to various war fronts — China, India, North Africa, Italy. Working in the Morale Operations division of the OSS, he produced anti-Nazi images for propaganda use, while also sending drawings of military life to “The New Yorker”, many of which were included in his first book, All in Line published in 1945.

 

Saul Steinberg Now C. 1960-1965
DIGRESSIONS / PLAYING WITH WORDS
Saul Steinberg, Now!, 1960-1965
watercolour, pen and ink, pencil and coloured
pencil on paper
The Saul Steinberg Foundation, New York
© The Saul Steinberg Foundation/Artists
Rights Society (ARS) New York.

Saul Steinberg Riverhead Long Island 1985 Yellowtrace
SOUVENIRS / OTHER POSTCARDS
Saul Steinberg, Riverhead, Long Island, 1985
acrylic, crayon, marker, watercolour, coloured
pencils and colour film on folder folded in half
The Saul Steinberg Foundation, New York
© The Saul Steinberg Foundation/Artists
Rights Society (ARS) New York.

Saul Steinberg Via Ampere 1970 Yellowtrace
SOUVENIRS / POSTCARDS FROM MILAN
Saul Steinberg, Via Ampere 1936, 1970
pencil and coloured pencils on paper
Originally published in The New Yorker,
October 7, 1974
Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense, Milano
© The Saul Steinberg Foundation/Artists
Rights Society (ARS) New York.

Saul Steinberg Woman Seated 1950 51 Yellowtrace
DRAWINGS OF WOMEN
Saul Steinberg, Woman Seated 1950-51
ink and crayon on laid paper
The Saul Steinberg Foundation, New York
© The Saul Steinberg Foundation/Artists
Rights Society (ARS) New York.

Saul Steinberg Untitled 1965 Yellowtrace
GEOGRAPHY AND ARCHITECTURE / MAPS
Saul Steinberg, Untitled, 1965
ink and pencil on paper
The Saul Steinberg Foundation, New York
© The Saul Steinberg Foundation/Artists
Rights Society (ARS) New York.

Saul Steinberg Untitled 1954 Yellowtrace
INTERIORS
Saul Steinberg, Untitled, 1954
ink over pencil on paper
The Saul Steinberg Foundation, New York
© The Saul Steinberg Foundation/Artists
Rights Society (ARS) New York.

 

Shipped back to the US in October 1944, he married Hedda Sterne. In New York, he became friends with many exponents of the American art scene, including Alexander Calder and immigrants like himself Richard Lindner, Bernard Rudofsky, Tino Nivola, Leo Lionni, Evelyn Hofer. As he got more mural commissions, magazine publications, and exhibitions, his reputation also grew.

In 1956, he spent five weeks travelling in the Soviet Union as a pictorial reporter for “The New Yorker”. Two years later, he produced the monumental collage-mural, “The Americans,” for the US pavilion at the Brussels World’s Fair. As an inveterate traveller, he made frequent trips to Europe and throughout the United States, using these journeys as an important source of inspiration for his drawings.

Beginning in 1959 he made paper-bag masks, which became famous when the photographer Inge Morath photographed Steinberg and his friends wearing the masks in various settings.

 

Saul Steinberg At Triennale Milano Photo Gianluca Di Ioia Yellowtrace 02
Installation at Triennale Milano
Saul Steinberg — Milan, New York 
Photos: Gianluca Di Ioia.

Saul Steinberg At Triennale Milano Photo Gianluca Di Ioia Yellowtrace 01

Saul Steinberg At Triennale Milano Photo Gianluca Di Ioia Yellowtrace 04

Saul Steinberg At Triennale Milano Photo Gianluca Di Ioia Yellowtrace 03Saul Steinberg — Milan, New York at Triennale Milano.
Photos: Gianluca Di Ioia.

 

Animals, objects, places, cities, writers, artists and many others are the entries that trace out a portrait, or rather, a “map” of a personality who was able to be a designer, painter, cartoonist, illustrator and sculptor, and an inventor of “things” and who chose Milan as his beloved place for an important phase of his own life and career.

In Saul Steinberg: Milan, New York, Triennale Milano presents a new exhibition offering a tribute to the great artist who dedicated so many of his works to the Italian city in which he resided during his formative years. Curated by Italo Lupi and Marco Belpoliti in collaboration with Francesca Pellicciari, and produced in collaboration with Italy’s Electa Publishing House, the retrospective seeks to explore the artist’s deep connection to Italy, with particular focus on Milan, but also the imaginary ones not pertaining to any particular city but exemplifying a quintessentially Italian aesthetic.

 

Saul Steinberg: Milan, New York is on show at the Triennale Milano until March 13th, 2022. For more information visit triennale.org/saul-steinberg.

 

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