Saul Steinberg's Americans reassembled in Germany

The artist's massive mural goes on display for the first time since it was cut up following the '58 World's Fair
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Detail from The Americans (1958) by Saul Steinberg
Detail from The Americans (1958) by Saul Steinberg

The late, Romanian-born, New-York based artist, Saul Steinberg (1914-1999) drew, sculpted and produced collages, though he remains best known for his illustrations, such as the famous 1976 New Yorker cover View of the world from 9th Avenue.

Nevertheless, gallery goers across the world continue to appreciate Stienberg's characterful, modernist images in all their variety, which seem to offer a robust defence of the thoughtful, western, 20th century ways of life.

Next month, Museum Ludwig in Cologne will reassemble one of Steinberg's largest works, fitting the panelled mural, The Americans, back together for the first time since it was dissembled at the end of the 1958 Brussels World's Fair.

The work, a 10-feet-high, 230-feet-long depiction of American life in the town and country, covering all walks of life, was commissioned for the American pavilion at the 1958 Fair, the first world's fair since WWII. Upon the fair's closure in October 1958, The Americans was cut into 84 sections, and eventually found a home in the permanent collection of Brussels' Musées Royaux de Beaux-Arts.

 

Detail from The Americans (1958) by Saul Steinberg
Detail from The Americans (1958) by Saul Steinberg

Though portions of Steinberg's mural have been displayed since this bequest – most recently at a 2008 exhibition to mark the fair's 50th anniversary – Museum Ludwig's exhibition will mark The Americans' first full reassembly.

The show, which will include 73 other works by Steinberg, runs March 23-June 23, and sounds like a treat for anyone with an interest in 20th century pictorial art. To find out more, visit the museum's site. To learn more about the media Steinberg worked within consider our Archive of Graphic Design and our 20th Century Art Book.


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