Sunday, November 27, 2011

Saul Steinberg Violin Solo and Liberty Duet

On December 15, Bonhams will be offering two original ink drawings by Saul Steinberg in its Fine Books and Manuscripts sale. The first is a female violinist drawn on music paper. The second is a pair of women reportedly similar to "Three Liberties."

Sale 19427 - Fine Books and Manuscripts, 15 Dec 2011 
New York

The first drawing:
Lot No: 5151
STEINBERG, SAUL. 1914-1999.
Original gouache and ink on large sheet of musical score, 500 x 330 mm, of a corpulent Baroque violinist, signed lower right, laid down, matted and framed.
Estimate: US$5,000 - 7,000
December 15, 2011:  Sold for US$7,500 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

On a similar note:

Saul Steinberg (AMERICAN, 1914-1999)
A violin player 
signed 'Steinberg' (lower right)
ink on a lined music sheet
19½ x 13 in. (49.6 x 33 cm.)

Price Realized 

    Price includes buyer's premium
    Estimate$2,000 - $3,000
    Sale Information

The second drawing:
Lot No: 5152
STEINBERG, SAUL. 1914-1999.
Original ink and traces of color on paper, 360 x 280 mm, of 2 women similar to his "Three Liberties" but wearing curiously anachronistic punkish pants, signed and dated at lower right ("Steinberg 1951"), colors faded, matted and framed.

Estimate: US$5,000 - 7,000 
December 15, 2011:  Sold for US$6,875 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

For the record, here are Steinberg's "Three Liberties" (1949-1951). I don't find the resemblance between the drawings all that compelling. I do find it intriguing that he spent three years working on the drawing, which shows three female subway riders in a pose glibly suggestive of the Statue of Liberty.

March 31, 2014 Update: The untitled work with two standing female figures is currently listed with Adam Baumgold Gallery.

Note: Need more? My previous Steinberg post is here.



  1. Interesting. I can't say I know the artist but that first one has a real touch of Searle about it.

  2. I don't know about that, but it is definitely worth your while to get to know Steinberg better.

  3. "Ronald Searle, along with Saul Steinberg and Andre Francois, is internationally acknowledged as one of the most original satirical artists of our time." --from the dust wrapper of Ronald Searle's Zoodiac (New York: Pantheon Books, 1977)