Saul Steinberg

On Sunday a friend and I stopped in at the Cincinnati Art Museum for the exhibit, Saul Steinberg: Illuminations. For those who are unfamiliar with the name, you may recall Steinberg’s charactersitic line on the cover of numerous New Yorker magazines.

Steinberg may be best known for his humorous cover A View of the World From 9th Avenue. All told, the Romanian-born artist did 85 covers and 642 drawings for the publication. On view in the show were 60 years worth of drawings, paintings, collages and even sculptures. One drawing ran 33 feet (although, for some reason, not fully shown under glass). 

One thing I found so refreshing about the exhibit was that one could see the pencil lines in many of the drawings, gouaches and watercolors. Some of the drawings didn’t completely make their way to the cover—they were edited. In one drawing that played on the use of acronyms (Steinberg considered himself a writer who happened to paint), the letters “LSD” ended up on the cutting room floor.

Anyhow, it’s nice to see, not really the mistakes an artist makes, but the progress. To know that even the hand of a genius wanders.


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