two horizontal images with cursive-like, illegible "text" above and below each image; top image is black and white with figure wearing a hat and an animal in a horse-drawn cart, in silhouette; other animals (pigs and sheep?) in silhouette in landscape; faux "seal" at top center in sky; bottom image in color; low horizon line with silhouette of standing figure in barren landscape; green and pink at bottom of sky; brownish cloud; faux "seal" in blue at bottom center

%C2%A9 The Saul Steinberg Foundation %2F Artists Rights Society %28ARS%29%2C New York

Untitled, 1974

Steinberg liked to leave the meaning of his art open to interpretation by the viewer—so much so that he often made the script and stamps illegible—made-up texts in no particular alphabet or language. What looks informative holds back information. In the 1960s, he said:

“Art is a sphinx. The beauty of the sphinx is that you yourself must do the interpreting. When you have found an interpretation, you are already cured. The mistake people make is to believe that the sphinx can give only one answer. Actually, it gives hundreds of answers, or maybe none at all. Interpretation probably does not give us the truth, but the act of interpretation saves us.”

Details
Title
Untitled
Artist Life
1914–1999
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2016.136.6.11
Provenance
Ruth A. Reister, Minneapolis; Estate of Ruth A. Reister; bequethed to MIA, 2016
Curator Approved

This record is from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator, so may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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two horizontal images with cursive-like, illegible "text" above and below each image; top image is black and white with figure wearing a hat and an animal in a horse-drawn cart, in silhouette; other animals (pigs and sheep?) in silhouette in landscape; faux "seal" at top center in sky; bottom image in color; low horizon line with silhouette of standing figure in barren landscape; green and pink at bottom of sky; brownish cloud; faux "seal" in blue at bottom center

© The Saul Steinberg Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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