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Photograph of Steinberg Drawing Projected onto Hedda Sterne with The Toy in Background

Charles Eames, Saul Steinberg

c. 1950

This portrait is one of a series in which Hedda Sterne was photographed with a Saul Steinberg drawing of a woman projected onto her face and chest. The projected drawing depicts a woman with prominent eyebrows, dark lips, and a garment decorated with Victorian-style jewelry. The contrast between this historical aesthetic and the figure of Sterne—a decidedly modern artist—parallels a common theme in Steinberg’s work, as he often contrasted the traditional with the modern in order to critique social conventions. The notion of “‘contrast”’ in this image is heightened quite literally by the dramatic use of light and dark, which creates a somewhat sinister mood. This mood may read as more playful, however, for viewers who recognize the geometric tower that rises behind Sterne—known simply as The Toy, it was one of several construction kits for children that the Eameses designed in the early 1950s.

  • Medium:Photograph
  • Dimensions:5 x 4 in. (12.7 x 10.2 cm)
  • Item:A.2019.2.1629