Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Al Hirschfeld:

A Preliminary Inventory of His Collection in the Performing Arts Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Creator: Hirschfeld, Al, 1903-2003
Title: Al Hirschfeld Collection
Dates: 1951-1965, undated
Extent: 18 items in 18 oversize folders (0.42 linear feet)
Abstract: The Al Hirschfeld Collection, 1951-1965, undated, contains sixteen drawings and two prints of plays, films, and theater personalities. Among the many performers shown are Carol Burnett, Alec Guinness, and Mae West. Many of the drawings appeared in The New York Times; others were used by film and television studios for publicity purposes.
Language: English
Note: This brief collection description is a preliminary inventory. The collection is not fully processed or cataloged; no biographical sketch or descriptions of series are available in this inventory.
Access:

Open for research




Acquisition:

Purchase, 1967 (R3487); 2 drawings transferred from Art Collection, 1 drawing from Crain Collection

Processed by:

Esther L. Mes, 2001; Helen Adair, 2006

Repository:

Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin


The graphic artist and caricaturist Al Hirschfeld was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1903. Hirschfeld moved to New York City at the age of twelve and before he was twenty, he was creating art for motion picture companies. With the help of his friend Miguel Covarrubias, he perfected a unique drawing style marked by long fluid pen strokes. He studied at the Art Students League (circa 1918), worked for David Selznick (1921) and Warner Brothers (1921-1924), and established a studio in Paris (1924-1925). He became the theater correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune in Moscow (1927-1928), then worked for The New York Times from 1929. A consummate traveler, he was famous for his stylized and perceptive caricatures of theater and public personalities. After the birth of his daughter Nina in 1945, Hirschfeld concealed her name in almost all of his drawings. A documentary about his life, The Line King: Al Hirschfeld, was released in 1996. Hirschfeld passed away in 2003.

The Al Hirschfeld Collection, 1951-1965, undated, contains sixteen drawings and two prints of plays, films, and theater personalities. Many of the drawings appeared in The New York Times; others were used by film and television studios for publicity purposes. Productions represented include The Alamo (film), The Night of the Iguana (stage and film versions), The Rose Tattoo, St. Joan, Waiting for Godot, and West Side Story. Among the many performers shown are Carol Burnett (caricatured as Blanche du Bois in A Streetcar Named Desire ), Alec Guinness, and Margaret Leighton. This inventory includes an Index of Subjects which lists each of the individuals depicted in this collection.