“This is how I remember it…”, the photographer Inge Morath recalled in 2000. “In 1956, I finally got to New York…[Gjon] Mili gave Saul Steinberg a call…and Saul agreed to meet me and maybe pose for a portrait. The date was made. Upper East Side in the Seventies. I rang the bell and Saul Steinberg came out wearing over his head a paper bag on which he had drawn a self-portrait.”
Thus began one of the most quizzical and fascinating artistic collaborations between a photographer and a cartoonist in history. The result – a curious collection of images often referred to as the “Mask Series”, made between their initial meeting and 1962 – portray a range of figures wearing various cardboard box and paper bag masks created by Steinberg, photographed in a straightforward and unpretentious manner by Morath.