Steinberg, Saul. (1914–1999) [Schneider, Alexander. (1908–1993)]: Violinist – Original Drawing
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Large original Steinberg drawing of a violinist attentively playing his violin in front of a music stand, one leg raised with foot on a stool, a grouping of other stands and chairs in the background, where a cellist may also be seen. In ink on paper, ca. 1941–42. In fine condition. 12.5 x 18.5 inches (31.8 x 47 cm.). Unsigned. From the collection of the eminent Lithuanian-American violinist and conductor Alexander Schneider, best known as second violinist of the Budapest String Quartet from 1932 to 1944 and from 1955 to 1967.
The Romanian American cartoonist and illustrator Saul Steinberg was famed worldwide for giving graphic definition to the postwar age, and had one of the most remarkable careers in American art. While renowned for the covers and drawings that appeared in The New Yorker for nearly six decades (including his View of the World from 9th Avenue, which graced the cover of the March 29, 1976 edition of the magazine), he was equally acclaimed for the drawings, paintings, prints, collages, and sculptures he exhibited internationally in galleries and museums. He described himself as "a writer who draws" and defined drawing as "a way of reasoning on paper."
"Throughout his long career, he used drawing to think about the semantics of art, reconfiguring stylistic signs into a new language suited to the fabricated temper of modern life. Sometimes with affection, sometimes with irony, but always with virtuoso mastery, he peeled back the carefully wrought masks of 20th-century civilization. Steinberg crafted a rich and ever-evolving idiom that found full expression through these parallel yet integrated careers. Such many-leveled art, however, resists conventional critical categories. “I don’t quite belong to the art, cartoon or magazine world, so the art world doesn’t quite know where to place me,” he said. He was a modernist without portfolio, constantly crossing boundaries into uncharted visual territory. In subject matter and styles, he made no distinction between high and low art, which he freely conflated in an oeuvre that is stylistically diverse yet consistent in depth and visual imagination." (Saul Steinberg Foundation)
Described as "one of the most unquenchably energetic figures in the public musical life of the USA," (New Grove), among many accomplishments, Alexander Schneider was a member of the legendary Budapest String Quartet and a guest conductor of major orchestras around the world. A recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors, he was the founding Artistic Director of the annual New York String Orchestra Seminar, one of the country's most acclaimed professional training programs for young musicians at Carnegie Hall, which is a major beneficiary of grants from the Alexander Schneider Foundation.
These two dynamic forces in art and in music in the second half of the 20th century happened to be life-long friends, part of a closely-knit circle of some of the world's leading artists, musicians, photographers and actors, who often gathered at Schneider's loft building on Manhattan's east side.