From National Book Award winner Deirdre Bair, the definitive biography of Saul Steinberg, one ofThe New Yorkers most iconic artists.The issue date was March 29, 1976.The New Yorkercost 75 cents. And on the cover unfolded Saul Steinbergs vision of the world: New York City, the Hudson River, and then...well, its really just a bunch of stuff you neednt concern yourself with. Steinbergs brilliant depiction of the world according to self-satisfied New Yorkers placed him squarely in the pantheon of the magazinesand the erasmost celebrated artists.But if you look beyond the searing wit and stunning artistry, youll find one of the most fascinating lives of the twentieth century. Born in Romania, Steinberg was educated in Milan andwas 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.
- New York Times Notable Books of the Year
The pre-eminent New Yorker cartoonist, creator of the famously self-obsessed Manhattan map that squeezes the unimportant remainder of the planet into the margins, leads a life worthy of his own ironic art in this scintillating biography. National Book Award winner Bair (Samuel Beckett: A Biography) chronicles Steinberg's career as the "'Picasso of the art form known as the doodle'" whose work made the adjective "Steinbergian" a by-word for an off-kilter blend of visual satire and philosophical complexity. Steinberg emerges as a tangle of neurotic contradictions: a wildly successful commercial artist with insecure longings for high-brow cachet; a disaffected immigrant son who was also the financial mainstay of his grasping family; a European modernist with an abiding love for Americana; a callous philanderer who remained a stalwart provider to a string of melodramatic women. Bair's long and amply researched biography unfolds in a graceful prose that's stocked with absurdist scenes-hastily inducted into the Navy as a propaganda officer, Steinberg was baffled by the salutes he received-and colorful characters, led by Steinberg's hilariously domineering mother, Rosa, the archetype of similar figures in his art and relationships. But much like one of her subject's caricatures, Bair's breezy writing works subtly and slyly to unearth psychological depths beneath the amusing surface of the Steinbergian picaresque. Photos. Agent: Kris Dahl, ICM Talent. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Nan A. Talese
November 20, 2012
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