Steinberg, Saul

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Steinberg, Saul,

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is self-referential (as in his simplified paper-bag mask self-portraits), filled with visual puns, and includes art-historical references.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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Steinberg, Saul

(1914–  ) graphic artist; born in Ramnicul-Sarat, Romania. He studied sociology and psychology in Bucharest (1932) and received his doctorate in architecture in Italy (1932–40). His drawings began appearing in American periodicals (1940), notably in the New Yorker. He escaped from Fascism to the Dominican Republic (1941) and emigrated to New York City (1942). After service in the United States Navy during World War II, he returned to New York and became an influential observer and satirist of modern culture, as seen in Manassas, Virginia: Main Street (1978). He won many awards for his pen and ink drawings and watercolors, and his publications, such as The Passport (1954) and The New World (1965) reinforced his international reputation as a modern master of the graphic arts.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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