Tuesday, July 7, 2015

"The Hirschfeld Century"

David Gordon in Theater Mania.

Al Hirschfeld works on a drawing at his desk in 2002, a year before his death.
(© Louise Kerz Hirschfeld)
For over a decade, David Leopold had a uniquely difficult, yet entirely pleasure-filled, task: He was the archivist for the prolific theatrical artist Al Hirschfeld. "I thought it would be a two-year job," Leopold says of getting hired in 1990 by the then-86-year-old Hirschfeld. The job would end up continuing for 13 years, until Hirschfeld's 2003 death at the age of 99. "It was like King Tut's Tomb," Leopold recalls. "He had everything. When I first met him and I came up to the studio, I thought he was just a big packrat. It turns out, all of the magazines and stacks of newspaper clippings all had Hirschfeld drawings [in them].

Now the Creative Director of the Al Hirschfeld Foundation, Leopold is the driving force behind two major new Hirschfeld-related productions both under the banner title The Hirschfeld Century. He is the guest curator of The Hirschfeld Century: The Art of Al Hirschfeld, on view at the New-York Historical Society through October 12, and the author of the companion book, The Hirschfeld Century: A Portrait of the Artist and His Age, available starting today, July 7.

Some favourite caricatures:

Alfred Hitchcock, The Birds, 1989

Jack Lemon in Tribute, 1979

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