The Art of William Steig
Claudia J. Nahson
Yale University Press, New Haven and The Jewish Museum, New York, 2007
The story of Steig’s work is told by Claudia J. Nahson and the cartoonist’s fellow artists and writers, and his family members. Together they create a portrait of a penetrating social observer with a restless imagination and a love for his craft.
In the seventy-three years that Steig worked for the New Yorker, the magazine published over 120 of his covers and more than 1,600 of his drawings in a wide range of styles, including classic cartoons, psychologically fraught pen-and-ink renderings, and Picasso-esque representations. He brought a new voice to the magazine by creating cartoons that drew on his experience as a son of immigrant Eastern European Jews. In his sixties, Steig embarked on a second career as a writer and illustrator of children’s books, including Sylvester and the Magic Pebble and Shrek! These remarkable projects bring together numerous key elements of Steig’s work: his evocative use of reverie, his interest in cranks and complainers, and his belief in the redeeming power of love, nature, and art.