1954

February 8, ST and Buzzi begin a hectic two-week trip to the American South, stopping at 28 towns in Virginia and the Carolinas as well as the Civil War battlefield of Gettysburg. The sketches made on this and similar trips form the basis for finished drawings.

Gettysburg. Page from a 1954 sketchbook. Saul Steinberg Papers, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
Gettysburg. Page from a 1954 sketchbook. Saul Steinberg Papers, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
Greensboro N.C. Page from a 1954 sketchbook. Saul Steinberg Papers, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
Greensboro N.C. Page from a 1954 sketchbook. Saul Steinberg Papers, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
Columbia S.C. Page from a 1954 sketchbook. Saul Steinberg Papers, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
Columbia S.C. Page from a 1954 sketchbook. Saul Steinberg Papers, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
North Carolina, 1955. Ink and watercolor on paper, 14 ¾ x 23 1/8 in. Private collection.
North Carolina, 1955. Ink and watercolor on paper, 14 ¾ x 23 1/8 in. Private collection.

Buzzi will later publish his account of this trip as Piccolo diario americano (1974), with 15 drawings by ST.

Untitled, c. 1954. Ink on paper, 9 x 12 5/8 in. Published in Aldo Buzzi, Piccolo diario americano, 1974. Collection of Marina Marchesi and Franco Salghetti-Drioli.
Untitled, c. 1954. Ink on paper, 9 x 12 5/8 in. Published in Aldo Buzzi, Piccolo diario americano, 1974. Collection of Marina Marchesi and Franco Salghetti-Drioli.
Untitled, c. 1954. Ink on paper, 8 ¾ x 11 in. Published in Aldo Buzzi, Piccolo diario americano, 1974. Collection of Marina Marchesi and Franco Salghetti-Drioli.
Untitled, c. 1954. Ink on paper, 8 ¾ x 11 in. Published in Aldo Buzzi, Piccolo diario americano, 1974. Collection of Marina Marchesi and Franco Salghetti-Drioli.

May 18, by train to Milwaukee to travel with the Milwaukee Braves baseball team on assignment for LIFE magazine. Stays in several Midwest cities and describes the assignment as “an excellent pretext for visiting unattractive parts of town.” The baseball drawings are published the following summer in a full-color feature in LIFE, “Steinberg at the Bat,” July 11, 1955. This is ST’s first exposure to baseball; he concludes that the game is “an allegorical play about America.”

From “Steinberg at the Bat,” LIFE, July 11, 1955.
From “Steinberg at the Bat,” LIFE, July 11, 1955.
From “Steinberg at the Bat,” LIFE, July 11, 1955.
From “Steinberg at the Bat,” LIFE, July 11, 1955.

July, stays with New York City Ballet choreographer Jerome Robbins in Stonington, Connecticut.

July 15, honorable discharge from the US Naval Reserve with the rank of lieutenant.

Invited by architect Ernesto Rogers of the firm BBPR to design the sgraffito murals for the “Children’s Labyrinth” at the 10th Triennial of Milan.

August, in Milan to oversee the production of his four drawings for the “Children’s Labyrinth”; using enlarged photographs of the drawings, a team of assistants incises the lines into the walls. ST adds a few new sections himself.

“Children’s Labyrinth” at the 10th Milan Triennial, 1954. Saul Steinberg Papers, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
“Children’s Labyrinth” at the 10th Milan Triennial, 1954. Saul Steinberg Papers, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
Steinberg adding the Castello Sforzesco to the wall of the “Children’s Labyrinth,” August 1954. Saul Steinberg Papers, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
Steinberg adding the Castello Sforzesco to the wall of the “Children’s Labyrinth,” August 1954. Saul Steinberg Papers, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
Wall of the “Children’s Labyrinth” with a section of The Line. Saul Steinberg Papers, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
Wall of the “Children’s Labyrinth” with a section of The Line. Saul Steinberg Papers, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
Wall of the “Children’s Labyrinth” with a section of Types of Architecture. Saul Steinberg Papers, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
Wall of the “Children’s Labyrinth” with a section of Types of Architecture. Saul Steinberg Papers, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

Director Alberto Lattuada enlists ST as an extra in a scene shot in the Galleria of Milan for his film Scuola elementare (Elementary School).

Frame from Alberto Lattuada’s film Scuola elementare (Elementary School), with Steinberg, at right, as an extra in the Galleria of Milan.
Frame from Alberto Lattuada’s film Scuola elementare (Elementary School), with Steinberg, at right, as an extra in the Galleria of Milan.

Goes to Nice and Paris, then spends about ten days in London. September 23, flies back to New York.

October, publication of The Passport, his third compilation of drawings. Also published this year, Steinberg’s Umgang mit Menschen, a German anthology of drawings from The Passport and his two earlier books.

Spends Christmas with Alexander Calder and his family in Roxbury, Connecticut. In a later drawing, recalls seeing Calder dancing with a Labrador.

Ex-voto with Alexander Calder, 1983. Saul Steinberg Papers, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.The caption reads: “Xmas 1954. Sandy Calder dances with a Labrador. I too want to dance with that dog. After a few seconds he looks at me—not like a dog—then a very low growl. OK OK I say and let him go. He had just said: Not with you Mac!”
Ex-voto with Alexander Calder, 1983. Saul Steinberg Papers, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. The caption reads: “Xmas 1954. Sandy Calder dances with a Labrador. I too want to dance with that dog. After a few seconds he looks at me—not like a dog—then a very low growl. OK OK I say and let him go. He had just said: Not with you Mac!”

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