Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Saul Steinberg: The Art of Bow Hunting?

What could be better than a nice copy of Saul Steinberg's 1949 collection The Art of Living? How about a copy with an original Steinberg drawing? There's one now on AbeBooks, with an $1850 price tag, or about one-hundred times the price of the least expensive copy of the book on the site.

But what sort of a drawing is it exactly? It's surely not typical of Steinberg. There's no dedication, no inscription, no signature, just a date: "1954/New Year." So why was it created and to whom was it given? The drawing appears to be an unmanned crossbow shooting a turkey through with an arrow. There are recoil lines that look a bit like the numerals 911 on the left and a letter a. on the right reminiscent of any number of indecipherable Steinberg diagrams. The seller speculates that this might be "a rebus of some sort" as if a Steinberg drawing is a mystery to be solved.

If it is, I can't solve it alone. Is this drawing meant as an inside joke? As a gift to a bow hunter? Is it indeed by Steinberg himself or does it merely incorporate a few disparate elements of his style? I'm not going to pronounce judgment here. But I'll happily entertain reader opinions below in the comments section.
Saul SteinbergThe Art of Living. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1949.
Drawing inscribed "1954/New Year."

Saul Steinberg
AbeBooks Listing Retrieved October 1, 2018


Note:  Books with original souvenir drawings by Saul Steinberg aren't all that common, but then they're not all that rare either. Readers with access to such drawings in such books are urged to take scans or photos and forward them here for widespread consumption.

Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives:

Saul Steinberg

Books with Original Drawings

Attempted Bloggery's Turkey of an Index


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