Dec 10, 2019 - Sale 2526

Sale 2526 - Lot 237

Price Realized: $ 15,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 12,000 - $ 18,000
"12 Biographies / A to B." Final illustration appearing on page 251 in his book The Labyrinth (New York: Harper & Bros., 1960) and reprinted by The New York Review of Books (New York, 2019), and reproduced in the exhibition catalogue for "Saul Steinberg: April 14-July 9, 1979," at the Whitney Museum of American Art (Harold Rosenberg, text; chronology by Steinberg, New York, 1978). Pen and ink with collage on paper. 365x584 mm; 14 1/2x23 inches, sheet. Faint pencil signature and date in lower right corner, Steinberg's manuscript note and New Yorker stamp and label on overslip (though unpublished there).

Additional Details

steinberg's brilliant series of connecting points which he chose for the last page of his iconic book. His comment to the publisher, written on the overslip, states: "12 Biographies, or anyway, 12 variations on the distance between 2 points. If the typographical variety seems confusing, I'm willing to remove it all and substitute standard Bodoni all over."
Of this drawing, he wrote: 'Life is seen here like a voyage from (birth) A to the end, B. Normal lives make simple, even geometric travels, tracks without surprises, lives determined by family, money, geography or even logical and normal disasters. There is another normality—that of the neurotic or insane, shown here only by the more disagreeable drawing. The artist (and my idea of the artist, poet, painter, composer, etc., is the novelist) investigates all the other lives in order to understand the world and possibly himself before returning to his own, often for a short and dull time only. It accounts for the delayed (even retarded) nature of the artist.'--from the Whitney catalogue.
The Labyrinth, Steinberg's famous collection of drawings in which he, in his own words, "discovers and invents" numerous and varied events and objects including baseball, birds, music, motels, women, cats, crocodiles, the cube, museums, and Moscow, was chosen for reprint by The New York Review of Books this year featuring a new introduction by Nicholson Baker, an afterword by Harold Rosenberg, and new notes on the artwork.