Saul Steinberg is an artist who stands out monumentally beyond others, his unendingly unique style and vision setting him apart and occupying a space in the world of art that defies description. Probably most infamous for his prolific work as a trailblazing cartoonist for The New Yorker, his distinctive voice carries many eclectic expressions, his work extending far outside any of the usual genres or definitions. Even he was aware of his especially individualized perspective: “I don’t quite belong to the art, cartoon or magazine world, so the art world doesn’t quite know where to place me.” Though a career filled with over 80 one-man shows worldwide is a testament to his enduring appeal.
Weightlessly bridging the divide between high art and low art, his ingenious, charming and often humorous images seem to have invented a world all their own, where they travel straight from spark to realisation before we are even aware of what we are looking at. Yet for all their lightness and charm, they also contain an inescapable gravity, perhaps intrinsic in the clear sincerity with which he approached each new idea, infusing his lines with great sophistication. It is evident that he unwaveringly followed his own creative promptings, no matter how seemingly far-fetched, resulting in a piercing bright light in the history of modern art and a body of work that is diverse, unpretentious, conceptually rich and blissfully imaginative.