STEIG, WILLIAM.  1907-2003. 58 original ink and wash drawings for About People, each individually titled by the artist in pencil with printers' notes on versos,

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Lot 118
STEIG, WILLIAM. 1907-2003.
58 original ink and wash drawings for About People, each individually titled by the artist in pencil with printers' notes on versos,

Sold for US$ 10,700 inc. premium
STEIG, WILLIAM. 1907-2003.
58 original ink and wash drawings for About People, each individually titled by the artist in pencil with printers' notes on versos, various sizes, each signed in ink ("Wm. Steig"), some glue residue at top from previous mounting but not affecting images.
WITH: Autograph Note Signed ("Wm. Steig") to an editor or art director: "John--Here it is. Don't lose it. Bill."
Published: About People, New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1939.
Provenance: William Steig, the artist; by descent.


Bill Steig was one of the most admired cartoonists of his generation. Selling his first cartoon to Harold Ross in 1930, he became one of the longest running contributors to The New Yorker in the magazine's history. Steig admitted that he had the greatest admiration for Pablo Picasso, whose influence is apparent in much of his more "serious" work. In 1936, Steig began making drawings of various states of mind, his "symbolic drawings," and collected them in About People and other books. His brother Arthur explains in the foreword: "Here unconscious experiences are for the first time given a plastic expression that is neither innate or absolute (as in surrealistic works), but organized, and related in specific terms to the real world." The book is full of archetypal neurotics. Ross turned down these drawings as not being funny enough to appear in The New Yorker. But they were praised by his sister-in-law, anthropologist Margaret Mead. "Mr. Steig has the rare faculty of sensing the essentials of human nature and the capacity of depicting them in a most poignant manner," wrote noted psychologist and Freud's translator Dr. A. A. Brill. As apparent from these perceptive and sometimes haunting sketches, Steig suffered from severe depression and eventually sought treatment from controversial psychologist Wilhelm Reich. He even purchased an orgone box and an orgone blanket despite their being called frauds by the government. Steig credited Dr. Reich with saving him and dedicated one of his books to him. Three drawings ("Self-satisfaction," p 37; "Self-consciousness," p 38; and "Loss of a memory," p 94) are rubberstamped on the versos "Random House" and that they were reproduced in Life, January 8, 1940, pp. 52-53. Sold with a copy of the first edition in frayed dust jacket.
Contacts
STEIG, WILLIAM.  1907-2003. 58 original ink and wash drawings for About People, each individually titled by the artist in pencil with printers' notes on versos,
STEIG, WILLIAM.  1907-2003. 58 original ink and wash drawings for About People, each individually titled by the artist in pencil with printers' notes on versos,
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