Enclosed Gardens by Malcolm Kirk

Malcolm  Kirk arrived in New York, in December 1964 and commenced his career as an  assistant to Irving Penn. ICONIC FIGURES began as a project to record notable  artists then working in the city, amongst whom were Andy Warhol, Marcel  Duchamp, Mark Rothko, Robert Rauschenberg, Willem De Kooning, Roy Lichtenstein,  Claes Oldenburg, James Rosenquist, Tom Wesselman, Jim Dine, Robert Whitman and  Saul Steinberg. The portraits of Richard Feynman, Arthur C. Clarke, Claude   Levi-Strauss and other prominent scientific figures and writers are from later  magazine commissions. Malcolm’s iconic image of Warhol, subsequently translated  by the artist into a series of silk-screened ‘self-portraits’, hangs in major  museums throughout the world.

“Just a few days after Nabokov’s death, there was an invasion of butterflies out in Springs, Long Island. It probably happens every year. But the reason I noticed the butterflies this time was the presence—or the absence—of Nabokov.

“While I was riding my bicycle, in fact, I had the pleasure of traveling with one of them: a monarch, one of those orange-and-black butterflies that migrate from Canada down to Mexico. It was right beside me, we were moving at the same speed, and the butterfly was at the same height as my head. The proximity of the butterfly transformed me into an airborne head, a cherub or a seraph, one of Raphael’s angels composed solely of a head and wings.”

Saul Steinberg, from “Portraits and Landscapes”


Inge Morath, ‘Masquerade’ (The Saul Steinberg Mask Series), 1960-1962.

Saul Steinberg in his studio, masked, Manhattan, 1959.