ALBERT HIRSCHFELD(American, 1903-2003)
Albert Hirschfeld was born in St. Louis in 1903. When he was eleven years old his family moved to New York to enroll him in the Art Students League. He was originally attracted to painting and sculpture, but became enamored of pure, simple lines. At seventeen he became an art director at Selznick Pictures. In 1924 he moved to Paris and attended the Académie Julian where he studied painting, sculpture, and drawing. In 1943 he married European actress Dolly Haas. They had one child, Nina, who was born in 1945. Since the birth of his daughter, Hirschfeld has made a practice of hiding her name at least once in each of his drawings. The number of concealed NINAs is indicated to the right of his signature. Hirschfeld became famous for his pen and ink caricatures of theater people that he produced as Theater Caricaturist for the New York Times. His drawings have received many awards. In 1991 and 1994 the United States Postal Service released two series of stamps they commissioned Hirschfeld to design. The stamps portray: Laurel & Hardy; Jack Benny; Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy; Abbott & Costello; and Fanny Brice; Rudolf Valentino; Clara Bow; Charlie Chaplin; John Gilbert; Lon Chaney; the Keystone Cops; Theda Bara; Zasu Pitts; Harold Lloyd; and Buster Keaton. In 1996 a film documentary of his life, titled The Line King, was nominated for an Academy Award. That same year, Hirschfeld was named one of six New York City Landmarks by the New York Landmarks Conservancy. In 1997, following the death of his first wife in 1994, Hirschfeld married Louise Kerz. Many books of Hirschfeld’s artwork have been published, and his drawings have appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Playbill, TV Guide, Town & Country, Playboy, People Magazine, Collier’s, Life, Time, Look, The Washingtonian, The Los Angeles Times, Business Week, Rolling Stone, Reader’s Digest, and many more publications. Hirschfeld’s artwork is among the collections of: the Brooklyn Museum; Fogg Museum, Harvard University; Library of Congress; Lincoln Centre Library; Metropolitan Museum; the Morgan Library; Museum of the City of New York; Museum of Modern Art; the Museums of Television and Radio, Los Angeles and New York; the National Portrait Gallery; St. Louis Art Museum; Smithsonian Institution; the Whitney Museum of American Art; and many other museums and institutions in the United States, Europe, and Asia.