1959

January-February, through his friend, violinist Alexander Schneider, meets photographer Inge Morath, recently arrived in New York.

Makes first paper-bag masks, using brown supermarket bags to create a variety of social types. Continues to produce such masks into the mid-1960s. Morath photographs ST wearing some self-portrait masks. In 1961, she collaborates with him on a series of photos with people wearing other ST masks—“different people,” she said, “adapting their bodies and gestures to the Steinbergian persona they wore as a mask.”

Mask, 1959-63. Ink over pencil and oil on brown paper bag, 13 x 7 ½ in. The Art Institute of Chicago; Gift of The Saul Steinberg Foundation.
Mask, 1959-63. Ink over pencil and oil on brown paper bag, 13 x 7 ½ in. The Art Institute of Chicago; Gift of The Saul Steinberg Foundation.
Untitled (from the Mask Series with Saul Steinberg), 1962. Photograph by Inge Morath © The Inge Morath Foundation.
Untitled (from the Mask Series with Saul Steinberg), 1962. Photograph by Inge Morath © The Inge Morath Foundation.

January 17, his third New Yorker cover, The Pursuit of Happiness (also known as Prosperity), marks the beginning of his years as a regular cover contributor; it is also the first of his covers with a sociopolitical theme.

Cover of The New Yorker, January 17, 1959.
Cover of The New Yorker, January 17, 1959.

March 13, The Count Ory, a comic opera by Gioachino Rossini, opens at the Juilliard Opera Theater, New York, with backdrops by ST.

Drawing for one of the backdrops for Rossini’s comic opera, The Count Ory at the Juilliard Opera Theater, New York, 1959. Ink, watercolor, and colored pencil on paper, 14 ½ x 23 in. The Saul Steinberg Foundation.
Drawing for one of the backdrops for Rossini’s comic opera, The Count Ory at the Juilliard Opera Theater, New York, 1959. Ink, watercolor, and colored pencil on paper, 14 ½ x 23 in. The Saul Steinberg Foundation.

May 22, completes purchase of house on Old Stone Highway in Springs, within the district of Amagansett, on the eastern end of Long Island. The house is across the road from Costantino and Ruth Nivola, who remain among his closest friends. It will become his refuge from the busy life of New York.

Steinberg’s house in Amagansett. The taller structure at left is the original house purchased in 1959.
Steinberg’s house in Amagansett. The taller structure at left is the original house purchased in 1959.

August, trip to Utah, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, and Texas by plane, car, train, and bus. Of Las Vegas, he reports: “I’m disgusted. Even the cigarette machines are crooked here. Most of the time they take money & give you nothing.” Describing a visit to cousins in Denver: “They live in a ranch-type house in a block with a ranch-type synagogue.”

Agrees to design full-color calendars for Hallmark instead of Christmas cards. The first one appears in 1960, the last in 1969.

Mailing envelope for Steinberg’s first calendar for Hallmark, 1960.
Mailing envelope for Steinberg’s first calendar for Hallmark, 1960.

Is rereading all of James Joyce, “which now I understand—in part. A great loss of time not to have understood it years ago.”


Enable Javascript