Art 1 – Steinberg – HW due 9/16


In addition to the stop action video shown in class, here is another video about Saul Steinberg.  If you need more time reading the text, just pause and restart.

Look at the following website from the Saul Steinberg Foundation.  Pay special attention to the Gallery. Notice how his works shift from 2d to 3d and how he uses his imagination to enliven everyday reality.

Saul Steinberg Foundation

What is the most interesting aspect of his life, in your opinion?

How do you think this contributed to his development of his work?

Does his work remind you of any other artists you have seen?

What is your favorite drawing by him and why do you like it?

SKETCHBOOK: In the link above (Saul Steinberg Foundation), click on the Gallery. Locate “Untitled, 1964” (interior view with furniture) – it is the 2nd row over, the 4th image down. In your sketchbook, draw a Steinberg-influenced view of part of a room in your house. Record your time spent drawing on the back of your sketch.


27 responses »

  1. The most interesting aspect of Saul Steinberg’s life, in my opinion, is the fact that he traveled across the world and got to experience many different cultures. I believe that this contributed to his work because he was more culturally aware which made him pay more attention to detail and abstract or different ideas. I think it also helped him grasp foreign customs better and that is why he was so good at illustrating the streets of New York. He was also exposed to foreign art. Steinberg’s work reminded me of Edward Gorey because he has some weird humor mixed with his work. My favorite drawing is at 1:50 because he incorporates depth, he contrasts the skyline with the buildings and characters, and because its an odd scene.


  2. The most interesting aspect of Saul Steinberg’s life was his early education in architecture which can clearly be seen in his often architecturally focused art pieces and his use of form. Also his work with other artistic mediums such as sculptures and murals I believe helped to lead to his wide diversity in style and content. My favorite piece of work is at 1:16 because it provides a comical analysis of the situation during The Second World War and I like the way in which Saul drew the faces.

  3. Steinberg was born in Romania, which I find fascinating, but I am impressed moreso by the fact he studied in Milan afterwards, then moved to New York to work. He already learned three languages before his career really took off. I think his travel, foreign birth, and later life in urban environments shaped his bizarre drawings of people and cityscapes, of which he saw a lot of. Steinback recognized the fact that everybody is unique, so he made his characters unique to match. Stories lied within the skyscrapers, so he made the buildings more natural and twisted to reflect the mystery of what lies inside. His work reminds me of a comic I saw in the newspaper once, featuring a boy who could draw anything and it would come to life. The art style, personality, and themes of Steinback and said comic were very similar. I like Steinback’s drawing of a street with expressionless people standing on either side. It’s so simple, so mysterious, so… Strange. Like looking into another world.

  4. One interesting aspect of his life was how cultured he was from Romania to Milan to New York. I think it allowed him a broadened perspective on different artists and different kinds of art from all over the world this definitly influenced the variety of his art. I really enjoyed the simplicity and continuousness of Steinbergs lines. It allows simple shapes and expressions to take over his pieces. I think Steingbergs personality and style uniquely dictated his fun loving care free comics. I think my favorite of Steinbergs drawings were his portrayal of the hustle and bustle of the New York streets. I think his cultured and widened perspective allowed him to see New York from a new and overwhelming perspective rather than just the locals that were used to the chaotic way of life. I also like the individuality of each and every one of his characters.

  5. I think that one interesting about Steinberg is that he had to flee Italy in 1941 due to anti-Jewish laws. I think this is reflected in his art because he draws such diverse figures going about their lives in harmony, depicting his ideal world where everyone’s differences are accepted fully. I don’t think his art looks like that of any other artist that I have ever see, but my favorite is the one with a bunch of different question marks. I don’t know why, but that one just appeals to me.

  6. The most interesting aspect of Saul Steinberg’s life was how he was constantly moving from place to place around the world, and his differing styles throughout his life seem to reflect the different cultures he experienced. He really helps one to understand what it might be like to live there. Though having studied architecture, he seems to like mapping the buildings of New York in as simple a way as possible– with graph paper or simple shapes that aren’t always proportionate to the rest of the scene. A few of his self portraits remind me of Kilroy, and where he shows a group of diversely styled people (such as at 1:38 or in “Bleecker Street”), I am reminded of the cover of Stg. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Otherwise, much of his work reminds me of Jean-Jacques Sempé’s cartoons.

    There is this one piece that I couldn’t find the name of, found here: which I like most because each person is drawn with a different style, such that you can interpret their personalities. It even feels as if you could assign people in the image to different cliques they might fit into, just based on the amount of detail, color, shading (and type of shading). They all seem to have different principles– all are individual, unlike in some of his other New York snapshots, where all of the people are drawn similarly, with the same style, almost as if they are part of a bigger pattern, a system…

  7. I think the fact that he was born in Romania, studied in Milan, fled to Portugal, lived in the Dominican republic for a while and then settled in Manhattan. I think these all had a definite impact on his art. I think if you analyse his art you can see certain stereotypes in his art. I think this influenced his early work quite a bit in that it gave him something to work off of. His work is something so unique I don’t think its reminiscent of anything, it seems to have influence, but I can not tell from what. My favorite work of art by him is “The view of the World from 9th avenue” because its such a strange, unique view of the world. It kind of puts into perspective how big, but how small the world is all at once.

  8. I think the most interesting thing that happened in the life of Saul Steinburg is the fact that he went to architecture school, but instead of working in architecture he became an artist. I think the architecture gave Saul a good sense of space and depth. Since there has not been many artists that we have seen as a class this year, he does not remind me of any artist. My favorite piece by this artist is the Canal Street drawing. There seems to be a lot going on in the picture, but looking deeper into it, the drawing is actually very simple. There was also a good sense of depth.

  9. I think one of the most interesting aspects of Steinberg’s life were that he had to flee from an anti-Semetic environment. That must have been so difficult and terrifying. Fleeing from fascist Italy definitely must have influenced his art and political beliefs. It’s also interesting that he served in World War II. I think being involved in the war must have inspired him to create political/satirical cartoons. His work is similar to some other cartoonists that frequently are published in the New Yorker (I can’t think of any names though). I can’t remember the name of the piece but we saw it in one of the films we watched that featured his art. It was a bunch of different characters drawing each other and it led up to a hand drawing something. I thought it was really unique and meta. I also enjoyed its simplicity.

  10. I was most interested by Steinbergs foreign influences, from romania, north africa and the dominican republic. In my opinion this influenced his work greatly because is gave him the bizarre, cynical approach to america. Since he was looking at america from the perspective of both a foreigner and a resident, he could he could create the perfect satires that appealed to people from all around the world, while not offending america so much that they wouldn’t like him. I really don’t know what artist’s he’s similar to because he has such a broad range and he was the first of his kind. I’ve only seen a few artists but there is a shared dark satire in Steingbergs work and Gorey’s work.
    I really like Las Vegas. The piece is quite bizarre but it captures the sound and chaos of a casino and the almost addicted occupants.

  11. It’s interesting that Steinberg ended up an influential artist living in New York, after living in so many other places. New York influenced his art, I think, because it was his final place to live and was probably a lot different than anywhere else he had lived. I don’t know about many other artists and his art doesn’t remind me of any artists I know. I like the piece “Wyoming” from Steinberg’s gallery, because the shapes in the background are curvy and contrast the squareness of the building in the foreground. I also think the color draws attention to certain bits of the drawing.

  12. In my opinion, the most interesting aspect of Steinbergs life is that he had to flee because of his beliefs from an anti-Semetic situation and how he had to travel around the world. This contributed to his development of his work in that he traveled and saw many different places which I believe influenced his work. I also like how he challenged the societies perspective of style and form in art. Steinberg is simple and abstract. His work reminds me of Picasso, however I like Steinberg’s work more because it is less abstract and when I see most of Picasso’s work it makes my head hurt.

    My favorite drawing done by Steinberg is the very first drawing shown in the slide of the man drawing himself. I like it and find it interesting. It intrigues me and for some reason make me think that everyone can create who they are and their own future.

  13. I think the most interesting thing about Stienbergs life was that he moved around so much and yet out of all those places the one he drew the most inspiration from was New York. New York influenced a lot of his drawings, many of which were about New York themselves. His style seems vaguely familiar, but I can’t remember what artist he reminds me of. I liked the image shown at 1:38 in the video of the different figures sitting together, perhaps at a bar, because they were all very different yet you could tell the same person drew them because they all had the same style.

  14. I think the most interesting aspect of Steinberg’s life was that he lived in many different places, yet found his main inspiration from New York. The inspiration of the big city gave many of Steinberg’s drawings a sense of chaos and playfulness. I feel as though I have seen his style of drawing before, but I do not remember the specific artist. I like the drawing titled The View of the World From 9th Avenue, I think the perspective of the drawing is very interesting. It illustrates how small the world can really be. I also like the use of color in this drawing.

  15. In my opinion, the most interesting thing about Steinberg is that he worked for the military. This most likely influenced his cynical style, which may be a reaction to some things he saw while in that line of work. He reminds me of Bill Watterson, because they both have fairly simplistic styles. My favorite work of Steinberg’s is “Untitled, 1948” which depicts a person drawing himself. I like it because it is very simplistic, but the person is very likable. That generic face also serves also appears in many other Steinberg works.

  16. I think it is interesting how he experienced many different things including travel, war, and different lifestyles. This may have led to his unique way of seeing life and the world around him. His work doesn’t remind me of any artist in particular. Probably my favorite pieces he’s made are either those depicting quirky city scenes or the really simple line drawings of his that are somehow still really expressive.

  17. I think that the coolest part of his life is that he was in war and has lived in many places showing that he has seen a lot in his life. This probably contributed some of the specific choice of color to specific things he remembered and being able to combine many different aspects of cultures or place in one artwork. His art looks pretty original to me, although I haven’t really studied or analyzed other artists before. My favorite drawing is “I do, I have, I am” because it evokes freedom or personality in a drawing.

  18. I think the one of the most interesting parts of Steinberg’s life is that he served in World War II. His work is often chaotic, with one figure blending in the next until they are almost inseparable. I think his experience in the war must have proven to him the unpredictability of human nature, and it probably heavily influenced his style, leading him to draw in a meticulous–though, to the viewer, haphazard–way. My favorite piece of his is the one at 2:05 in the video: his representation of New York City. Drawing back on his understanding of human tendencies–which are often magnified in such an urban setting–I really love the way he expresses the disorder of daily life. His style reminds me mostly of other work I have seen in the New Yorker.

  19. I think the most interesting thing about Stienbergs life that affects his art is that he lived in New York. This may not seem like an interesting facet at first until you consider it in the grand scheme of his art work. Th simplicity of some of his drawing seems to be a reaction to the chaos he may have experienced in New York. His simplistic drawings remind me of some Shell Silverstine’s art work. My favorite drawing of his is depiction of a city which includes graph paper. i thought that his use of this unusual medium was an interesting venture into the unexpected.

  20. I think that it was so important for Steinberg to travel around the world. He may have gotten every nations spirit culture by traveling there, and getting some ideas, some material for creating new works. And the travel also gave him some life and social experience. I think to experience the different living ways people have in each place of the world is also very helpful for getting new ideas. Steinberg used those ideas to describe how they lived by drawing, using some abstractive styles. I think even Steinberg’s cartoons are abstracted but it depicted the feeling he wants to show to people.

  21. I like Steinberg’s lighthearted “comic book” method of representing and sometimes – almost satirizing – the ordered and monotonous postwar world and the turbulent and uncertain world during world war 2. He does this with a very casual style that is reminiscent of children’s books. I like best his drawings of cityscapes as I can enjoy ordered art. I think what influenced him was the culture – world war 2 and the postwar era – I think he strove to capture it’s mood through this simple casual style.

  22. The most interesting aspect of Steinberg’s life was how he ended up living back and forth across the Atlantic, and was influenced highly by the city life. His work would also portray the cities as being chaotic, expressive, and bold. All the small details and people in his Steinberg’s city drawings remind me of the style of Martin Handford, the illustrator and writer of Where’s Waldo. My favorite of his drawings is the one of the fat cat in the first video, because of the cross hatching patterns and how he managed for it to look alive, yet surreal.

  23. I thought it was really interesting that he traveled so much and that he could really experience the cultures in each place. This variety probably affected his art because he did political cartoons for magazines and he might have been inspired by art by other artists in that area. Like Ms. Soetaert said in class, Stienberg’s work reminds me of Shel Silverstein’s. They both are simple pen lines that make up random people or things. I like his drawing Car (1 down 1 over in the gallery) because he uses a realistic everyday object but places it in an interesting setting. I also enjoy how the longer you look at it the more details you notice, both in the background and foreground.

  24. I think the interesting thing about Steinberg’s life was the places he visited, and how he used them in his art. Even though he traveled all over the world to some of the most beautiful places on earth, he decided to base almost all his work off of the city. I thought this was very interesting because the city is not the most elegant or inspiring place, but he still chose to use it in his artwork, and convey the image of the hard concrete streets into beautiful artwork. I have never seen any work like his, but I am really amazed with his way of drawing faces because it is so hard, but yet he makes it so easy with just one line. I think the reason why I like Steinberg’s art so much is because I love the image of the city. My favorite painting is The View of the World from 9th Avenue. I love this because it reminds me of San Francisco (my favorite city) and he uses a way of contour drawing to show the curves of the street. The way he incorporated the map into the work was really cool. I think the colors he used help describe the picture perfectly without taking away from the simple outlines and shapes.

  25. I think it’s interesting that Steinberg studied both philosophy and architecture before going into cartooning. His work can be seen as a product of these areas of his study. Both philosophy and architecture, I think, play a role in his work (lots of buildings, etc.)
    His work reminds me of Charles Barsotti, who was also a New Yorker cartoonist.

    My favorite piece by him is the self portrait where there is a picture of him drawing himself (just lines, etc.) It’s so expressive of who he is.

  26. I think it is incredible that Steinberg was able to immigrate to the United States and become so successful despite his background and art style. His art seems to be very ahead of its time in its simplicity and cleanness. The characters aren’t serious at all, but many times, Steinberg seems to be creating works that instill bigger ideas than what we may originally see. I think his European background allowed him to have a different view of society than many American born artists. His work reminds me of Shel Silverstein, who I like a lot! It reminds me of the book “Falling Up!” My favorite drawing of his is a sketch of one man tipping his hat, and the other man trying to do the same but instead, tipping his entire head! It’s humorous but very quirky!

  27. The most interesting part of his life in my opinion was that he flew to America after he grew up on the other side of the world. Growing up in Romania he was exposed to printing the moving around Europe discovering unique architecture displayed in his pieces. He almost reminds me of Picasso in a way with his interesting figures. I love is picture “I do, I have, I am”, I like it because it can relate to many things in the modern world and in many of our lives.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s