Research task 2.5 : Christoph Niemann and Saul Steinberg

Firstly, I’ll start with the work of Saul Steinberg.

The mask series

Saul Steinberg’s work could be considered cartoon and satirical, yet serious and pertinent in it’s comment and subject.

There are messages behind much of his work, but on the other hand it works on simpler levels for the casual observer. It’s quite whimsical and light hearted, sometimes naive in it’s execution and just a little bit surreal in an Ed Gorey kind of fashion.

Some of his drawn work has a timeless feel of Wimmelbilderbuch : a where’s Wally? (or Waldo depending on which side of the pond you live) of it’s time and to me it has a flavour of MAD magazine’s prolific artist Sergio Aragonés

SAUL STEINBERG Chicago The Second City
Chicago – the second City

Chair by Saul Steinberg for Flair -
Chair by Saul Steinberg
Christoph Niemann’s work is similar to that of Saul Steinberg in the respect that he uses integration with objects and illustration, albeit in a rather different and often more subtle way.

Christoph Niemann – photo drawings

Christoph Niemann – Sunday Sketches

The Sunday Sketches series are incredibly inventive and clever, by the artists own admission he simply picks an object and messes with the angles and positions until something suggest itself to him : and states it’s nothing magical, more rather down to perseverance.


In terms of messages, I think both artists could be considered equally weighted : Saul Steinberg’s work has a deeper meaning in particular with the mask series, Christoph Niemann’s works deeper in a more editorial illustration sense, the message is more pictorial rather than suggested.

Steinberg’s found object work is quite literal too in the regard that it’s more staged around objects in place whereas Niemann’s relies on capitalizing from serendipity or fortuity : or on the other hand making something from nothing.

Of the two methods, I would imagine that Steinberg’s way of creating from more staged objects would be simpler to develop from in contrast to Niemann’s where you would perhaps take something innocuous and force it into a clever development that works for you.

For me personally I love both artists work, Steinberg’s for it’s quaintness, surrealism and commentary on a bygone America and Niemann’s for it’s pop culture commentary, slick execution and sheer comedic value.

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