A bit more of Hamptons art history will now remain part of the community. The Parrish Art Museum has received a major cache of art of Saul Steinberg, announced the museum. The art was gifted by the Saul Steinberg Foundation and includes 64 works created from 1945 to 1990. Steinberg lived and worked in Springs, East Hampton, NY for nearly 50 years.
Around 49 of these works are currently on view in the permanent collection gallery exhibition "Saul Steinberg: Modernist Without Portfolio." The show includes watercolor, pen and ink, collage, wooden assemblages, wallpaper and fabric works. The exhibition is part of the umbrella exhibition "What We See, How We See," which is made up of seven themed exhibitions that highlights art in the Parrish Art Musuem's collection. The exhibition opened November 10, 2019 and continues on view through April 2021.
Saul Steinberg received international fame by interpreting the postwar age through drawings and graphic-driven art. His work was viewed worldwide in museum and gallery exhibitions as well as on magazine covers of The New Yorker and drawings that could be found within its pages for around six decades.
The acquisition spans 45 years (1945-1990) and features the artist’s signature drawings in watercolor, pen and ink, pencil, crayon and other media along with rarely shown works made up of wooden assemblages, wallpaper and fabric.
“We are absolutely thrilled to receive this important and visually magnificent gift of Steinberg’s work and are grateful to our colleague Patterson Sims of the Steinberg Foundation for facilitating this opportunity,” Parrish Art Museum Executive Director Terrie Sultan stated. “Steinberg is a national treasure as well as a pillar of the kind of artistic creativity that makes our community so special. A longtime resident of East Hampton and a citizen of the world, Steinberg has touched the lives of so many. To be able to represent his achievements so substantially at the Parrish Art Museum is an honor.”
The range of objects and styles in the exhibition illuminates Steinberg’s unique perception of the world revealed in quirky abstract portraits, offbeat scenes of quotidian life, animated architectural drawings, and whimsical depictions of birds, cats, and other real and imagined creatures, according to the Parrish. References to life on the East End of Long Island are clear in landscapes of beaches and farms, and in specific structures like Amagansett Post Office, 1981.
The gift from The Saul Steinberg Foundation aligns with the Parrish’s mission to illuminate the creative process by collecting the work of artists in depth and connects with its focus on artists associated with the East End of Long Island, New York.
The acquisition also places the Parrish in the roster of international museums holding Steinberg works in depth in their collections. They include the National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC); Centre Pompidou (Paris); Menil Collection (Houston) and the Morgan Library and Museum (New York).
About Saul Steinberg
In subject matter and styles, Saul Steinberg (1914–1999) made no distinction between fine and commercial art, which he freely conflated in an oeuvre that is stylistically diverse yet consistent in depth and visual imagination.
The son of a manufacturer of decorative boxes, Steinberg grew up in Bucharest. In 1933, he moved to Milan to study architecture and in 1936 began contributing to the Italian humor newspaper Bertoldo. The promulgation of anti-Semitic racial laws in 1938 led him to seek refuge elsewhere, arriving in the U.S. in 1942. Through an agent in New York, his drawings had already begun to appear in U.S. periodicals; his first drawing in The New Yorker was published in October 1941.
In 1946, Steinberg was included in the critically acclaimed "Fourteen Americans" exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, where his work was exhibited with art by Arshile Gorky, Isamu Noguchi, Robert Motherwell and others.
In 1959 he purchased a house in Springs in East Hampton, NY. He began to spend more time in The Hamptons after the mid-1960s with his home and studio becoming a refuge from his busy New York City life.
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