Beginning of his friendship with novelist Kurt Vonnegut. An interviewer later asks Vonnegut, “You ever meet anybody who was really smart?” Vonnegut answers: “Only one: Saul Steinberg…I could ask Saul anything, and six seconds would pass, and then he would give me a perfect answer. He growled a perfect answer.”
Regrows his mustache.
February 7-March 3, “Steinberg: New Work,” at the Betty Parsons and Sidney Janis galleries, New York. The first exhibition of his Drawing Table Reliefs—carved and painted trompe-l’oeil wood objects mounted on panels, representing the implements of his trade, the things around his studio, the food on his plate, and even reiterations of his own work, past and present. He tells Aldo Buzzi: “…the new things—the tables—were well displayed and I’m still pleased with them. These are new things for me and bring me closer to the rather animal world of painters. In working on them there’s only pleasure, the mind is at rest, it’s the happiness of a horse…. This new passion for wood—what fragrance!—it makes me work and even dream that I’m working.”
May 31, purchases a duplex at 103 East 75th St., with room for a studio. Spends the summer arranging his move from Washington Square Village—“I feel it’s important to get out of the Village, more than anything else.” Retains his studio on Union Square until the lease expires in 1975, but gradually shifts New York operations to 75th St.
September, has plans drawn up for a studio addition to the Amagansett house. Construction continues into early 1974.
October, to Paris for the opening of his show at the Galerie Maeght. Like the Parsons-Janis show in February, the focus is on the new Drawing Table Reliefs.
Publication of The Inspector, his sixth compilation of drawings.
December 21-February 10, 1974, “Steinberg at the Smithsonian: The Metamorphoses of an Emblem,” exhibition at the National Collection of Fine Arts, Washington, DC. Exhibited are the drawings on Smithsonian letterhead produced during his tenure as artist-in-residence in 1967.