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An Exhibition for Modern Living Catalog

Saul Steinberg


Saul Steinberg likely first crossed paths with the Eameses when they participated in An Exhibition for Modern Living at the Detroit Institute of Arts, a showcase of modern design that was organized by the Eameses’ close friend Alexander Girard in 1949. The exhibition included a “Hall of Objects” displaying various housewares as well as seven rooms by leading designers, including George Nelson, Eero Saarinen, and the Eameses. The Eames room featured their molded plywood chairs arranged around a folding table, a prototype of the La Chaise lounge chair, and multiple Eames Storage Units—all enlivened by bouquets of flowers, paper kites, and a light fixture dubbed the Galaxy Light that resembled both a model of an atom and a starburst. Steinberg’s distinct contribution to the show was a series of drawings photographically enlarged into a mural that depicted the panoply of design in modern life through his unique artistic lens. The exhibition was extensively documented in this catalog, which includes numerous examples of Eames furniture and drawings by Steinberg, many of which speak to the evolving tension between traditional and modern styles. The drawing that appears on the catalog’s cover illustrates this relationship by depicting a man engrossed in a newspaper. He sits on a simple modern side chair while the ornate armchair before him is reduced to a footrest, making a clear statement of preference for modern styles over traditional ones.

  • Manufacturer: Detroit Institute of Arts
  • Medium:Exhibition catalog
  • Dimensions:11 x 8 3/4 x 1/4 in. (27.9 x 22.2 x 0.6 cm)
  • Credit Line:The Detroit Institute of Arts
  • Item:A.2019.1.027