April 14-July 9, retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art; travels to the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC; the Serpentine Gallery, London; and the Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul-de Vence. Harold Rosenberg writes the introduction to the catalogue.
At the time of the retrospective, ST conceives a photomontage of his adult and child selves. Evelyn Hofer photographs him in the Amagansett house, holding the hand of a blown-up photo of six-year-old Saul.
April 16, his old friend, artist Richard Lindner dies. Writes a tribute that is read at the January 1979 meeting of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Lindner’s death dampens his pleasure at the success of the Whitney exhibition.
May 3, elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
June 1, receives honorary doctorate from New York University.
July 11, Harold Rosenberg, one of his closest friends, dies.
August, automobile trip with Sigrid to Arizona, Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming; is increasingly disturbed by the crowds visiting natural wonders and by changes in small-town America. “Monument Valley, a formerly marvelous place worth seeing twice, but this was my third time, and it was too much…. In general things have deteriorated out there [in the West], with crowding and a decadence of restaurants and motels…. Cheyenne looks like Times Square.”
August 21, furniture designer Charles Eames dies. ST had been friends with Charles and his wife-design partner Ray since the 1940s.
December 25, “Uncles,” the first of his autobiographical portfolios, is published in The New Yorker. “Cousins” appears on May 28, 1979. They may have been inspired by reading the transcripts of his 1974 and 1977 conversations with Aldo Buzzi. Describing such drawings to Buzzi, he says: “I recognize…parts of myself: an ear, an eye. Archaeology!” The drawings of family members are “variants and parodies of myself, as relatives usually are.”