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“A Way of Reasoning on Paper”: The Art of Saul Steinberg
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“A Way of Reasoning on Paper”: The Art of Saul Steinberg

Saul Steinberg (1914–1999) was born in Râmnicu Sărat, Romania, to parents of Jewish descent. In 1933, he moved to Italy to escape Romania’s pervasive Antisemitism and to study architecture. By the late 1930s, Fascist laws in Italy forced him to seek refuge outside of Europe. After a year in the Dominican Republic, Steinberg arrived in New York in 1942. A prolific artist renowned for his contributions to The New Yorker and other publications, he also exhibited widely in galleries and museums for nearly 60 years.  

Despite the fame he enjoyed in his adopted country, Steinberg viewed himself as an outsider and distanced observer. He examined the nature of people and things through his art, describing his commitment to drawing as “a way of reasoning on paper.” The result was a uniquely Steinbergian experience marked by a vivid imagination and playful use of materials. Thanks to a generous recent gift from The Saul Steinberg Foundation, we can slip into Steinberg’s world to reason along with him, wondering and marveling along the way.  

Organized by The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Image Caption: Saul Steinberg, American, born Romania (1914–1999). Untitled, 1957. Ink and watercolor on Strathmore paper, 12 5/8 x 22 3/4 inches (32.07 x 57.79 cm). The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri. Gift of The Saul Steinberg Foundation,2019.49.4.© The Saul Steinberg Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.