Fritz Eichenberg (1901 - 1990) was born in Cologne, Germany. He worked as a printer's apprentice and studied at both the Municipal School of Applied Arts in Cologne and the Academy of Graphic Arts in Leipzig. He began his career as a graphic artist and illustrator in 1923, working for various publications and as freelance illustrator. In 1933, anxious about the rise of National Socialism, he emigrated with his wife and child to New York. Eichenberg worked for the WPA's Federal Arts Project from his arrival to the end of the decade. He taught art at the New School for Social Research and at Pratt Institute, where he established and headed the Graphic Arts Department, and opened the Pratt Graphic Arts Center in Manhattan. He later served as the head of the art department at University of Rhode Island, and laid out the printmaking studios there. Eichenberg was a prolific book illustrator, and published numerous portfolios on various themes.
After immigrating to New York in 1933 to escape mounting Nazi tensions, Fritz Eichenberg received many commissions to illustrate new editions of classic literature. In his prolific career as a book illustrator he visually interpreted many different styles of writing, but excelled in material with elements of spiritual and emotional conflict, fantasy, or social satire. Subsequently, Eichenberg produced some of his best graphic work with authors such as Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Charlotte and Emily Brönte, Edgar Allen Poe, and Grimmelshausen.
In New York, Eichenberg taught at Pratt and the New School and was active in the WPA program. He was a member of the National Academy of Design. The Steps is one of four early prints depicting life in New York.