Monday, July 6, 2015

Saul Steinberg: The Ascent of Man

An untitled ink drawing by Saul Steinberg from the mid-1960's was published in The Inspector, his 1973 collection. It depicts a stepped pyramid with an arch at the center. The steps along the left show a boy growing into  a man initially before being simplified into a geometric form, while the steps on the right show abstract shapes in no clear progression. At the apex is a right triangle, the placement of which seems to promise some unity to the two sides of the pyramid although it barely unifies the two top steps. The stark landscape is relieved by another triangle of three carefully-positioned decorative plantings--a rose, a cactus, and a palm tree--and a frieze of clouds scratched across the sky. The drawing was sold at Christie's in 2013 for $27,500, nearly twice its high estimate.

Saul Steinberg, Untitled, c. 1965-1967, published in The Inspector (1973)

Saul Steinberg, Untitled, c. 1965-1967, published in The Inspector (1973)

Note:  Saul Steinberg's art is full of fascinating ideas and occupies a unique place in American art.


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