Saul Steinberg, the son of a printer, was born in Romania on 15th June 1914. He studied philosophy at Bucharest University and architecture in Milan. While in Italy he began producing cartoons for the satirical magazine, Bertoldo. An opponent of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, Steinberg fled to the United States in 1940.
Steinberg was sent back to Europe but tried a second time and this led to him being deported to the Dominican Republic. With the help of the magazine, the New Yorker, Steinberg was allowed to enter the United States in 1942. He joined the US Navy and he saw action in North Africa and Italy. During the war his cartoons were published in the New Yorker. Steinberg published his first book All in Line (1945). The following year he covered the Nuremberg War Trials for the New Yorker. He also designed opera sets and was a Nasa artist at Cape Canaveral.
Christopher Hawtree has pointed out: "There is no pat way of summing-up Steinberg. Diversely rooted, his work anticipated much of what was to come in American art, such as the pop movement, and stands above it all." The art critic, Robert Hughes, has argued that Steinberg "erected standards of precision and graphic intelligence that had not been imagined in American illustration before him."
Saul Steinberg died on 12th May 1999.