Saul Steinberg was the best-loved nonwriter in the history of The New Yorker. He did cartoons, fake maps, trick diplomas and tinkered-with postcards, a sketchbook from behind the Iron Curtain and another on the road with the Milwaukee Braves. Often he just did the doodles (the “spots,” as editors called them) adorning the columns of spotless prose. He even drew some of the advertisements that appeared in the magazine’s margins, until he got so rich he stopped needing the work. The Romanian-born Steinberg did his first New Yorker drawing for Harold Ross in 1941 and his last for David Remnick in 1999, the year of his death. Along the way, he did 90 covers, a number that continues, posthumously, to rise; Steinberg’s ghost most recently had the cover last week. His masterpiece appeared 36 years earlier, on March 29th, 1976: “View of the World From 9th Avenue,” his emblem of New York self-centeredness, in which the expanses of Ninth and 10th Avenues give way to a fat strip of the Hudson, the foreshortened flyover states and the tapered specks of far-off Asia. Read More
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