Obituary: Saul Steinberg

Missing out on a complete collection of books by the artist/ illustrator/cartoonist Saul Steinberg ten years ago left such a scar on me that the painful healing process of collecting his work, bit by bit, made me appreciate it even more.

While less known in the UK, his exhibitions, books and work in The New Yorker, Harper’s Bazaar and Life were enormously influential on generations who saw and loved his work.

In a life that spanned most of this century, he constantly demonstrated a uniquely warped view of the world that allowed him to turn his own finger prints into a complete book (The Passport) and to produce many bizarre variants on the self-portrait, where his little men draw their own faces, hands, you name it.

Somehow one of the true signature artists of the 20th century has passed us by. “I am one of the few who continue to draw after childhood is ended,” he said. Perhaps we should all put down our mice and follow suit.

Michael Johnson

Johnson Banks

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