Al Hirschfeld’s drawings, many capturing legendary Broadway shows and casts across eight decades, stand as one of the most innovative efforts in establishing the visual language of modern art through caricature in the 20th century. A self-described “characterist,” Hirschfeld’s signature work, defined by a linear calligraphic style, appeared in virtually every major publication over nine decades (including a 75-year relationship with The New York Times), as well as numerous book and record covers and fifteen US postage stamps. Hirschfeld, a two-time Tony Award recipient, died in 2003, at the age of 99. Later that year, Broadway’s Martin Beck Theatre was renamed the Al Hirschfeld Theatre.
Now through Sunday, July 20, twenty limited-edition Al Hirschfeld prints signed by the iconic stars featured in the images are available in an online auction, with all proceeds to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and The Al Hirschfeld Foundation. The partnership between the two organizations was conceived and brokered by The Erlick Group, a leading New York-based entertainment sponsorship agency since 1992.
Among the signed and numbered lots are:
Julie Andrews – Following a 30-year absence, the actress made her acclaimed return to the New York stage in 1993, performing in Putting It Together, a musical revue celebrating the songs of Stephen Sondheim;
Robert De Niro and Liza Minnelli – The Academy Award winners appear as Jimmy and Francine, the lovebird leads of Martin Scorsese’s 1977 film New York, New York, which turned the title song by Broadway legends John Kander and Fred Ebb into a hit;
Chita Rivera – A three-time Tony Award recipient, Rivera strikes a classic pose in her Hirschfeld giclée print from the 1984 Kander and Ebb musical The Rink, in which she starred as the owner of a dilapidated roller rink who must reconcile with her estranged daughter, played by Liza Minnelli.
The other luminaries whose hand-signed collectible prints are available in the online benefit auction are Alan Alda, Cher, Michael Crawford, Clive Davis, Judi Dench, Richard Gere, Mark Hamill, Billy Joel, John Malkovich, Steve Martin, Ian McKellen, Reba McEntire, Linda Ronstadt, Martin Short, Meryl Streep, Christopher Walken, and John Williams. All items have an estimated value of $2500 and include a certificate of authenticity from the Al Hirschfeld Foundation.
“Working with Broadway Cares, who does so much for the Broadway community and beyond, goes right to the heart of the mission of The Al Hirschfeld Foundation,” noted David Leopold, the Creative Director of the Al Hirschfeld Foundation. “We feel fortunate that we have come upon a great way to contribute to Broadway Cares’ efforts and also continue our project to bring arts education to where it is needed the most. For years, Hirschfeld admirers have asked for these images be published as prints. Having the performers, who felt honored to be drawn by The Line King, return the favor by signing these very limited editions is a tribute to how much Hirschfeld and Broadway Cares means to this community.”
Broadway Cares Executive Director Tom Viola said, “We are immensely grateful for our treasured partnership with the Al Hirschfeld Foundation and the opportunity to feature these most unique, signed pieces of art. Our ongoing collaboration with the Foundation and the generosity of Hirschfeld fans old and new will help ensure much-needed health care and medication, nutritious meals, counseling and emergency assistance for those across the country affected by HIV/AIDS and other debilitating illnesses.”
By participating in the online benefit, you can lend your support to these important organizations and take home a piece of Broadway history, so be sure to get your winning bid in before the auction closes on July 20.