Saul Steinberg: A Biography

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Nov 20, 2012 - Art - 480 pages
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From National Book Award winner Deirdre Bair, the definitive biography of Saul Steinberg, one of The New Yorker's most iconic artists.
 
The issue date was March 29, 1976. The New Yorker cost 75 cents. And on the cover unfolded Saul Steinberg's vision of the world: New York City, the Hudson River, and then...well, it's really just a bunch of stuff you needn't concern yourself with. Steinberg's brilliant depiction of the world according to self-satisfied New Yorkers placed him squarely in the pantheon of the magazine's—and the era's—most celebrated artists.
 
But if you look beyond the searing wit and stunning artistry, you'll find one of the most fascinating lives of the twentieth century. Born in Romania, Steinberg was educated in Milan and was already famous for his satirical drawings when World War II forced him to immigrate to the United States. On a single day, Steinberg became a US citizen, a commissioned officer in the US Navy, and a member of the OSS, assigned to spy in China, North Africa, and Italy. After the war ended, he returned to America and to his art. He quickly gained entree into influential circles that included Saul Bellow, Vladimir Nabokov, Willem de Kooning, and Le Corbusier. His wife was the artist Hedda Sterne, from whom he separated in 1960 but never divorced and with whom he remained in daily contact for the rest of his life. This conveniently freed him up to amass a coterie of young mistresses and lovers. But his truly great love was the United States, where he traveled extensively by bus, train, and car, drawing, observing, and writing.
 
His body of work is staggering and influential in ways we may not yet even be able to fully grasp, quite possibly because there has not been a full-scale biography of him until now. Deirdre Bair had access to 177 boxes of documents and more than 400 drawings. In addition, she conducted several hundred personal interviews. Steinberg's curious talent for creating myths about himself did not make her job an easy one, but the result is a stunning achievement to admire and enjoy.

The electronic version of this title does not contain the 35 Saul Steinberg illustrations that are available in the print edition.

 

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Contents

Chapter 7TO ANSWER IN Chapter 8IN A STATE OF UTTER DELIGHT
Chapter 10MY HAND IS Chapter 11STARTING Chapter 12THE STRANGER SHE Chapter 13
Chapter 14THE ONLY HAPPILY MARRIED COUPLE
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 19A GRAND OLDFASHIONED JOURNEY
Chapter 22A BITING
Cover
FURNITURE Chapter35UP
WHAT THE MEMORY ACCUMULATES
Chapter39THE DEFECTS Chapter 40THE PASSION Chapter 41 STEINBERGIAN
Chapter 43THE LATEST Chapter44 AFFIRMATION Chapter 45 WHAT
Chapter 46
THE ANNUS MIRABILIS OF 1999
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Chapter 1

THE THIRTYFIVE YEARS
CHANGES AND Chapter26I LIVED
Title Page
Copyright
TO Chapter 31THE DESIRE
LIVING IN THE PAST
Dedication
Chapter 3
NEW THINGS
Chapter 5
Chapter 28
AGAIN INTHE CARTOONS RACKET
INDEX
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

DEIRDRE BAIR received the National Book Award for Samuel Beckett: A Biography. Her biographies of Simone de Beauvoir and Carl Jung were finalists for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her biographies of Simone de Beauvoir and Anaïs Nin were chosen by The New York Times as Best Book of the Year (Beauvoir) and Notable Book of the Year (Nin).

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