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Steinberg at the New Yorker by Joel Smith

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$ 180.00
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$ 180.00
Publisher : Harry N. Abrams
Binding : Hardcover
Pages : 240
Publication Date : 2/8/2005
Condition : BRAND NEW
Born in Romania in 1914, Steinberg studied architecture in Milan and made a name for himself as a cartoonist before fleeing fascist Italy in 1941. Avidly sponsored by The New Yorker, he arrived in Manhattan the following year, only to join the military on a worldwide tour of duty, which he chronicled in the pages of the magazine. Through the 1950s, Steinberg's acute, spontaneous, fluid line was in constant demand among periodicals and book publishers throughout Europe and the United States. In sixty years, he worked with every editor The New Yorker has had, and he created art of every category it employed, including covers, cartoons, spot drawings, illustrations for Profiles, and multi-page portfolios. All 87 of Steinberg's covers are seen here in full colour, as well as colour drawings which originally appeared in black and white, and 25 thematic plate sections which explore his defining preoccupations. The accompanying essay by art historian Joel Smith considers Steinberg's work in the context of the magazine's evolution, during and after World War II, from a humorous weekly to one of the defining standard bearers of taste and intelligence in American letters. From Publishers Weekly Steinberg's high-concept graphic art—epitomized by his oft-imitated cartoon map in which a Manhattan distended with self-importance shoves the continents of North America and Asia to the margins—is enchantingly showcased in this lavishly illustrated retrospective of his work for the New Yorker. Smith, a curator at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar and author of Edward Steichen: The Early Years, surveys six decades of Steinberg's pieces, including all 89 New Yorker covers (in full color), cartoons, wartime sketches from overseas, evocative (but never literal-minded) illustrations for articles, and unpublished items from the artist's portfolio. The material is arranged thematically, examining such recurring motifs as cats, pedestals and rubber-stamped figures and documenting the turn to visual metaphor in Steinberg's later work, where symbolic graphic representations of sound, abstract relationships and existential conundrums replace the usual scenario-with-verbal-punch line cartoon setup. Smith's pithy biographical essay situates Steinberg as a self-conscious modernist who helped develop a distinctive New Yorker visual style, one with "a wry, informal wit... attuned to the jittery optimism of the Atomic Age." Steinberg's cartoons usually made readers think before they laughed, and so will this splendid memorial to a 20th-century artistic landmark. (Apr.) From Booklist Everybody knows that the only reason (OK, not the only reason) most people read the New Yorker is the cartoons. Fortunately, the most famous New Yorker cartoonist, Saul Steinberg (1914-99), was so frequently published on the magazine's cover that exclusive admirers could be forgiven for seldom plucking an issue from the newsstand or plumbing its contents. Smith's generous selection from all of Steinberg's New Yorker work shows such connoisseurs what they missed: black-ink drawings, sparingly shaded, that are as droll as the carefully colored line works on the covers. Steinberg, who said he drew cartoons for readers, used captions only in his earliest New Yorker work; later, he compositionally integrated words. He expected his fanciers' knowledge of the world and people, particularly New Yorkers, to enable them to see the humor in his work. Besides providing an excellent appreciative essay, Smith groups the plates and figures thematically and reprises all the Steinberg covers in chronological order at the end of the book. Ray Olson Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved