1978

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.

Installation shot of Steinberg’s 1978 retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Installation shot of Steinberg’s 1978 retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Steinberg and Jacqueline Onassis at the opening of the Whitney Museum retrospective. The New York Times, April 15, 1978.
Steinberg and Jacqueline Onassis at the opening of the Whitney Museum retrospective. The New York Times, April 15, 1978.

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.

Steinberg with his six-year-old self. Photo by Evelyn Hofer. © Estate of Evelyn Hofer. The childhood photo used appears above in the entry for 1920.
Steinberg with his six-year-old self. Photo by Evelyn Hofer. © Estate of Evelyn Hofer. The childhood photo used appears above in the entry for 1920.

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.

Richard Lindner, The Meeting, 1953. Oil on canvas, 60 x 72 in. The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Given anonymously. © 2016 Richard Lindner / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris. Steinberg is seated at left, Hedda Sterne above him.
Richard Lindner, The Meeting, 1953. Oil on canvas, 60 x 72 in. The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Given anonymously. © 2016 Richard Lindner / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris. Steinberg is seated at left, Hedda Sterne above him.

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.

 Portrait of Harold Rosenberg, 1972. Watercolor, crayon, and graphite on paper, 14 1/16 x 10 ¼ in. Yale University Art Gallery; The Lawrence and Regina Dubin Family Collection, Gift of Dr. Lawrence Dubin, B.S. 1955, M.D. 1958.
Portrait of Harold Rosenberg, 1972. Watercolor, crayon, and graphite on paper, 14 1/16 x 10 ¼ in. Yale University Art Gallery; The Lawrence and Regina Dubin Family Collection, Gift of Dr. Lawrence Dubin, B.S. 1955, M.D. 1958.

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.”

 Postcard of Monument Valley, sent to Aldo Buzzi, August 25, 1978. The Saul Steinberg Foundation. (
Postcard of Monument Valley, sent to Aldo Buzzi, August 25, 1978. The Saul Steinberg Foundation. (
 Page from a sketchbook, August 1978, Canyon de Chelly Motel, Arizona. Saul Steinberg Papers, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
Page from a sketchbook, August 1978, Canyon de Chelly Motel, Arizona. Saul Steinberg Papers, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

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.”

 Original drawing for the portfolio “Uncles,” The New Yorker, December 25, 1978. Untitled, 1978. Pencil, ink, and wash on paper, 13 x 19 ½ in. Saul Steinberg Papers, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
Original drawing for the portfolio “Uncles,” The New Yorker, December 25, 1978. Untitled, 1978. Pencil, ink, and wash on paper, 13 x 19 ½ in. Saul Steinberg Papers, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
 Original drawing for the portfolio “Uncles,” The New Yorker, December 25, 1978. Three Brothers, 1977. Wash, ink, and pencil on paper, 14 ¼ x 20 ¼ in. The Saul Steinberg Foundation.
Original drawing for the portfolio “Uncles,” The New Yorker, December 25, 1978. Three Brothers, 1977. Wash, ink, and pencil on paper, 14 ¼ x 20 ¼ in. The Saul Steinberg Foundation.
 Original drawing for the portfolio “Cousins,” The New Yorker, May 28, 1979. Untitled, 1979. Black pencil and pencil on paper, 11 x 16 in. Saul Steinberg Papers, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
Original drawing for the portfolio “Cousins,” The New Yorker, May 28, 1979. Untitled, 1979. Black pencil and pencil on paper, 11 x 16 in. Saul Steinberg Papers, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

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