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“The City,” Flair Magazine

Saul Steinberg

September 1950

The September 1950 “New York Issue” of Flair magazine featured a cover by artist Federico Pallavicini and a multi-page insert by Saul Steinberg in which his intricate drawings overlaid photographs by Louis Faurer, Karl Bissinger, and James Godbold. Flair was a short-lived but celebrated art magazine that debuted in February 1950 and ceased publication the following year after only 12 issues. Steinberg’s contribution, titled “The City,” playfully explored relationships between people, buildings, and things by transforming one thing into another through his drawing. By adding faces to inanimate objects, he turned lamps into commuters waiting at a bus stop or a flower pot into a figure lounging on the floor. He also tapped into his architectural training—he completed his degree at Milan's Regio Politecnico in 1940—to morph graph paper into a massive modernist edifice, file cabinets into a commercial street, and a tall chest of drawers into an imposing skyscraper. The result was a charming and clever study of urban form and the social worlds that unfold within it, and the work closely parallels his drawings on actual furniture in the Eames Office that same year.

  • Manufacturer: Cowles Media Company
  • Medium:Magazine
  • Dimensions:13 x 9 3/4 x 1/4 in. (33 x 24.8 x 0.6 cm)
  • Item:A.EIAC.2023.II.002