From The New Yorker to Shrek: The Art of William Steig

November 4, 2007 - March 16, 2008

William Steig was a brilliant cartoonist for The New Yorker and an award-winning, beloved author of children’s books, including Shrek! and Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. This exhibition delves into every phase of Steig’s prolific career, which spanned eight decades.

Hailed as the “King of Cartoons,” William Steig had a long and acclaimed career as both a brilliant cartoonist and an award-winning, beloved author of children’s literature, including his 1990 picture book Shrek! (“fear” in Yiddish) which has been turned into a series of popular animated films. Born in Brooklyn, New York on November 14, 1907 to Eastern European Jewish immigrants, Steig grew up in the Bronx and began illustrating for The New Yorker in 1930. His prolific association with the magazine is the longest by far of any of its cartoonists, with over 1,600 drawings as well as over 120 covers published during a period of 73 years. Scheduled for the centennial of the artist’s birth, this exhibition pays tribute to Steig’s incredible creativity by featuring a wide selection of original drawings for both his New Yorker cartoons and his children’s books such as Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, Doctor De Soto, Amos & Boris, Brave Irene, Gorky Rises, Dominic, When Everybody Wore a Hat, and of course Shrek! as well as his less known mid-life “symbolic drawings.” This in-depth presentation also sheds light on Steig’s life as it relates to his work and will be complemented by a range of public and educational programs for both adults and children.

From The New Yorker to Shrek: The Art of William Steig was generously funded by: Eugene and Emily Grant Family Foundation in honor of Evelyn G. Clyman; Melvin R. Seiden; Goldie and David Blanksteen Foundation;  Joseph and Joan Cullman Foundation for the Arts; and Winnick Family Foundation.
Major support was provided through the Skirball Fund for American Jewish Life Exhibitions and through endowed funds from the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation.