April 3–May 1, first exhibition at the Pace Gallery, “Saul Steinberg: Still Life and Architecture.” Includes the new realistic watercolor still lifes, drawing table reliefs, drawings based on postcard images, and three-dimensional table sculptures. For the catalogue, Italo Calvino’s essay “The Pen in the First Person,” first published in French by the Galerie Maeght in 1977, is translated into English.
May, visits Jim Dine in Vermont. “We spoke with pleasure about professional matters, like schoolmates.”
November, “I’ve completely abandoned the violin, convinced that I have a tin ear. On the other hand I have an excellent nose, but no intelligent or systematic way to use it.”
November, “Steinberg: Mixed Media Works on Paper and Wood” opens at the Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago. Goes to Chicago for the opening. Then to Las Vegas to make drawings for an upcoming New Yorker feature on gambling—“three days of sheer hell.” Another interpretation of Las Vegas will appear on the September 7, 1992 New Yorker cover, based on 1980s drawings.
While in Chicago, has dinner with Saul Bellow, “a pleasure. He’s one of those rare people who thinks first before speaking and responds seriously. In other words, he takes his relationships with his friends seriously (even if his style is naturally witty and tongue-in-cheek).”
Meets novelist William Gaddis, partner of his friend and Long Island neighbor, Muriel Oxenberg Murphy. He admires Gaddis’s difficult writing: “he’s a realist who makes reality new, the very opposite of the usual realists.” Their friendship will deepen through the 1980s and 1990s.
Designs the label for Château Mouton Rothschild 1983. In a program going back to the 1940s, each year a famous artist is asked to design a label.