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A Century of Caricature

A Century of Caricature

The Legacy of Al Hirschfeld

31 March 2016

“Artists are just children who refuse to put down their crayons.”
-Al Hirschfeld

Rago’s Unreserved Auctions are known for fantastic art and design at improbably affordable prices and unexpected finds.
Our April Unreserved Auctions, held on 4/15, 4/16 and 4/17, are no exception. Among the over 1000 lots on offer is spin art from Damien Hirst, furnishings from Eames and Stickley, scarves by Hermes and watches from Cartier alongside telescopes, tobacco jars, Chinese carvings, modern mobiles and this limited edition etching of Frank Sinatra singing with Luciano Pavarotti by the legendary caricaturist Al Hirschfeld.

Albert “Al” Hirschfeld was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1903. In 1915, Hirschfeld’s family moved to New York City where he received formal art training at the Art Students League of New York. Hirschfeld continued his arts education abroad, traveling to London and Paris to study painting, sculpture and drawing. Upon returning from Europe, a friend of Hirschfeld’s, Broadway press agent Richard Maney, brought some of Hirschfeld’s work to an editor for the New York Herald Tribune. The Tribune commissioned Hirschfeld to begin producing caricatures, and their overwhelming popularity helped land Hirschfeld a job with an even more prestigious paper, The New York Times.

Al Hirschfeld’s work gave the 20th century a distinct visual language of modern art through caricature. Hirschfeld’s signature work, defined by a linear calligraphic style, appeared in virtually every major publication of the last nine decades as well as numerous book and record covers and 15 postage stamps. He caricatured the most influential artists and politicians of the century from the Marx Brothers to Mick Jagger, and every president from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Bill Clinton. To be “Hirschfelded” was a sign that one had arrived. The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York both hold permanent collections of Hirschfeld's work.
Interested in learning more about Al Hirschfeld? Join Rago on Wednesday, April 12 for Hirschfeld Century: The Art of Al Hirschfeld, an open house featuring David Leopold, author of “The Hirschfeld Century: A Portrait of An Artist and His Age”. David, who is also the Creative Director of the Hirschfeld Foundation, will tell Hirschfeld’s story through words and pictures, including his connections to the Lambertville Music Circus, Bucks County Playhouse and theater folk like writer S.J. Perelman, who summered here.
RSVP to the event