Steinberg holds a peculiar place in the history of contemporary art in America. Quite possibly the best-known artist of the past three decades through his publication in The New Yorker and other magazines and publications, Steinberg can be seen as a precursor to Pop art, or as an outsider, or as an illustrator. But just noting these various readings of his work points up the complexity of his position. No matter how he is viewed, both intellectually and formally, he is a master draftsman of the rarest kind, and his wit and wisdom are highly prized on the often arid slopes of contemporary art dialogue.
La Gorée is one of Steinberg's 1970s landscapes, souvenirs of recent travels, which he calls "postcards." Unlike Steinberg's earlier travel drawings of specific places, the watercolors and oil-on-paper landscapes of this period depict faraway, mysterious places. They 'convey overtones of nostalgia through touches of stylistic anachronism and visions of lonliness...Another oddity of the landscapes is their division horizontally into one or more separate scenes, as if they were photographs taken at different times...(H. Rosenberg, Saul Steinberg, New York 1978, p. 33).
La Gorée could be a page from a travelers scrapbook, complete with photos of the entire expedition (top), a couple of individual shots on an indescribably barren landscape (Mongolia? Afghanistan?), and one image of a phantasmagorical nature (the goal of the expedition?). Two official-looking stamps make the assemblage look like it has been certified by some far-off customs official.