Pen and ink, ink wash, and watercolor
Dimensions: Sheet: 28 1/4 x 22 1/2 inches (71.8 x 57.2 cm)
Gift of Isabel and William Berley, Classes of 1947 and 1945
Object Number: 99.078.065
The unintelligible stamps and lettering in Utopia II inscribe this landscape with immigration’s documentary marks. A Romanian-Jewish immigrant, Steinberg sought refuge in the United States in 1941 from the rising anti-Semitic fascist regime in Europe. It is likely then, that this work alludes to not only his personal experience but also the countless journeys people have made and continue to make in order to arrive at the “utopia” of America: forsaking their nation of birth to be processed through bureaucratic systems of scrutiny, documentation, and approval in order to finally arrive in a new land burgeoning with awaiting hardships and to-be-fulfilled dreams.
-Kathie Jiang ("Shifting Ground," curated by undergraduate members of Cornell's History of Art Majors' Society, with oversight by Leah Sweet and Brittany R. R. Rubin, and presented at the Johnson Museum April 21-August 12, 2018)
NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.