“© Al Hirschfeld, Margo Feiden Galleries Ltd”
Al Hirschfeld’s social, political and theatrical depictions are as significant to the history of the 20th century as cave drawings are to our understanding of prehistoric man, or hieroglyphs to explaining the Egyptians. His creative caricatures made Charlie Chaplin a cinematic must and Carol Channing a theatrical icon. The artistic equivalent to receiving an Emmy, an Oscar, a Tony, a Pulitzer or even the Nobel Peace Prize as an established earmark of success was to become the focus of the hand of Hirschfeld, The Line King. To be immortalized on his boards was a guarantee of fame and/or historic significance.
Hirschfeld’s work was not limited to theatre and film, but also Daytime Television. TV Guide covers alone featured views of morning news teams and anchors, popular talk show hosts, sports coverage, game shows, culinary icons and children’s programming. Hirschfeld’s illustrations celebrated the remarkable history and influence that daytime programming contributed to American pop culture over the years, under the umbrella of The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS).
Hirschfeld’s New York Times imagery could sometimes be the very reason you bought the paper, if only to find his elusive Ninas woven throughout the artwork, and the motivation behind the purchase of a ticket to either the theatre or a movie. His artistic commentary helped define the arts and, in many ways, the nation.