Eye Candy for Today: Steinberg’s iconic View of the World from 9th Avenue

View of the World from 9th Avenue New Yorker cover by Saul Steinberg
View of the World from 9th Avenue New Yorker cover by Saul Steinberg (detail)

View of the World from 9th Avenue, March 29, 1976 cover of The New Yorker, Saul Steinberg; ink, colored pencil and watercolor; 26 x 19 inches (71 x 48 cm).

Whether you’re seeing this for the first time (in which case, you’re welcome), or you’ve seen it a hundred times and had the poster on your wall, it’s always worth looking at this delightful and insightful image of how New Yorkers might see the world.

On the one hand, it can be seen as arrogance on the part of residents of the Big Apple, bit I think Steinberg meant it more as a comment on the way we all have a relativistic view of the world based on the familiarity of our immediate surroundings, and how it affects our perception of events elsewhere.

It was so well received, The New Yorker applied for a copyright assigned to the artist and reproduced it as a very popular poster. Since then it’s been copied, reproduced and reprinted on everything from T-shirts to desk pads. It’s been parodied and played off of countless times.

Unfortunately — and to the dismay of the artist — this became primarily what Steinberg became known for, and not for the overall range of his brilliant drawings and cartoons.

For more on my high regard for this remarkable artist, see my 2006 post on Saul Steinberg.


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