Steinberg, Saul: THE ART OF LIVING. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1949.

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Saul Steinberg

Saul Steinberg: THE ART OF LIVING. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1949. First edition [with $3.50 price on jacket flap].  Quarto. Mustard cloth decorated in black. Printed dust jacket. Printed endpapers. [176] pp. Fully illustrated in black and white. Jacket edgeworn with several closerd tears to rear panel and spine sun-darkened. Interior unmarked and very clean. Out-of-print. A nearly fine copy in a good or better dust jacket.

9.25 x 11.25 hardcover book with 176 pages fully illustrated in black and white. “About two-thirds of the drawings are published here for the first time.”

Saul Steinberg defined drawing as "a way of reasoning on paper," and he remained committed to the act of drawing. Throughout his long career, he used drawing to think about the semantics of art, reconfiguring stylistic signs into a new language suited to the fabricated temper of modern life. Sometimes with affection, sometimes with irony, but always with virtuoso mastery, Saul Steinberg peeled back the carefully wrought masks of 20th-century civilization.

THE ART OF LIVING is divided into five sections:

  • The Art of Living
  • The Important People
  • The Domestic Animals
  • The Arts
  • The Women

Famed worldwide for giving graphic definition to the postwar age, Saul Steinberg (1914-1999) had one of the most remarkable careers in American art. While renowned for the covers and drawings that appeared in The New Yorker for nearly six decades, he was equally acclaimed for the drawings, paintings, prints, collages, and sculptures he exhibited internationally in galleries and museums.

Steinberg crafted a rich and ever-evolving idiom that found full expression through these parallel yet integrated careers. Such many-leveled art, however, resists conventional critical categories. “I don’t quite belong to the art, cartoon or magazine world, so the art world doesn’t quite know where to place me,” he said. 1 He was a modernist without portfolio, constantly crossing boundaries into uncharted visual territory. In subject matter and styles, he made no distinction between high and low art, which he freely conflated in an oeuvre that is stylistically diverse yet consistent in depth and visual imagination.

Steinberg’s commercial work is too often isolated from his gallery art, whereas both groups, connected in style, concept, and motifs, are the product of a single artistic vision. In the art world, Steinberg had first achieved prominence in 1946 as a participant in the famous “Fourteen Americans” exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, where his work hung alongside that of Arshile Gorky, Robert Motherwell, Isamu Noguchi, Theodore Roszak, and Mark Tobey. His first major solo show took place in 1952, a two-gallery exhibition mounted by the Betty Parsons and Sidney Janis galleries in New York. (Parsons and Janis became his US dealers, holding joint exhibitions of his work into the 1970s; beginning in 1982, he was—and continues to be—represented by the Pace Gallery.) Versions of the 1952 sell-out show traveled in the US, England, France, Brazil, Holland, and Germany for three years. In Paris, it was installed at the Galerie Maeght, which continued to mount Steinberg exhibitions through the 1980s. His art came to further international attention with the periodic publication of drawing compilations, beginning with the best-selling All in Line (1945), followed by The Art of Living (1949), The Passport (1954), The Labyrinth (1960), The New World (1965), and The Inspector (1973). — The Saul Steinberg Foundation