The New Yorker
The best-known works of his first American decade are the pen-and-ink drawings for The New Yorker, which ranged wide in subject matter, from visual comedy to wry comments on style to sophisticated takes on art and art-making.
Within a few years of immigrating, Steinberg had abandoned the conventional cartoon format of The New Yorker (as well as that of Bertoldo and Settebello) for a purer form of drawing—drawing that was witty in content or style, sometimes even outrageously funny, but without gag lines. These drawings, famous for their spare elegance and incisive visual jests, relied entirely on pictorial graphics and were keyed to the magazine’s middlebrow audience. Compared to other New Yorker artists, Steinberg’s “presence on a page was as distinct and for-its-own-sake as that of Picasso on a museum wall. Steinberg turned the magazine page into a venue for art.”13