Online exhibition explores Eames’ playful work with New Yorker artist Saul Steinberg

Known for his many works with the New Yorker – and signature drawings of cats – the artist Saul Steinberg forged a fruitful creative relationship with the Eameses in 1950.

Date
19 June 2023

The latest online exhibition from Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity revisits the artistic relationship between the design duo Ray and Charles Eames and Saul Steinberg, an artist, illustrator, cartoonist and sculptor whose whimsical drawings appeared across the New Yorker and beyond. The exhibition will specifically look at the collaborative works created by the artists, including a set of Eames chairs painted by Steinberg. They showed a woman and a cat permanently perched on two one-piece plastic shell seats – the first industrially mass-produced chairs in this form.

The artists first met in 1950, when a “botched Hollywood assignment” led Steinberg to the West Coast, on to the Eames Office in California. From there, Steinberg and the Eameses created an array of inventive objects and works together. Some of the items on display in the online exhibition include a collaborative photography project and a made-up diploma Steinberg produced for Charles Eames, who left school early at Washington University.

“The interconnection of Steinberg’s ideas and how this overlapped into the designs of my grandparents is incredible,” says chief curator Llisa Demetrios. “I think this collaboration is exemplative of how they liked to create – always open to another creative iteration, going beyond what’s expected.”

The exhibition is accompanied by a limited edition book showing design ephemera, photographs and artwork – available here. Steinberg’s chairs with the Eameses are currently being re-produced by Vitra.

GalleryEames Institute of Infinite Curiosity: Steinberg Meets the Eameses

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Copyright © Vitra / Tom Ziora, 2023

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Copyright © Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity, 2023

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Copyright © Vitra / Tom Ziora, 2023

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Diploma for Charles Eames (Copyright © Saul Steinberg, 1950)

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Copyright © Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity, 2023

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Copyright © Eames Office / LLC

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Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity: Steinberg Meets the Eameses (Copyright © Vitra / Tom Ziora, 2023)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating from the University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, Indie magazine and design studio Evermade.

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