Huntsville, Ala – Legendary stars of Broadway and Hollywood will be brought back to life at the Huntsville Museum of Art beginning Friday, May 30, when the museum opens its new exhibition Al Hirschfeld: A Celebration of Hollywood and Broadway. The show will feature 45 pen and ink drawings and prints spanning Hirschfeld’s career and will gather together icons from the Great White Way and the Silver Screen including John Wayne, Carol Channing, Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Katherine Hepburn and Marlon Brando. The exhibit, which will be on view through September 14, was organized by the museum and the Al Hirschfeld Foundation.
“We are pleased to bring Al Hirschfeld’s art to Huntsville,” David Leopold, archivist for the foundation, said. “As the court artist for the performing arts, no one captured Hollywood and Broadway more or better than Hirschfeld. His 76 years capturing Broadway shows are only surpassed by his 82 years of drawing films and their personalities.”
The drawings and prints in this exhibit capture 72 years of Hirschfeld’s work and take Museum visitors from the vaudeville stage to the digital cinema. The artwork covers a staggering 71 years of popular culture in America, from an autographed drawing of vaudeville comedian Billy B. Van from 1929 to a gouache painting of Groucho Marx from 2000.
“Al Hirschfeld was not the best at what he did; he was the only one who did what he did,” Leopold added. “He said his contribution was to take the character, created by the playwright and portrayed by the actor, and reinvent it for the reader.”
The name Al Hirschfeld has virtually been synonymous with Broadway since his first theatrical drawing was published in December 1926. However, by that time, he was already a six-year veteran of movie studio publicity and art departments, having worked for Goldwyn, Universal, Pathé, Selznick, Fox, First National and Warner Brothers. The exhibition highlights his contributions to both the theater and film worlds.
Hirschfeld is also well known for hiding “NINA” in many of his works. Nina was his daughter from his first marriage to actress Dolly Haas, and he began embedding Nina’s name in his art after her birth in 1945. Hirschfeld’s widow and president of his foundation, Louise Hirschfeld, and Leopold will be the final speakers in the museum’s popular Voices of Our Times 2014 lecture series on Thursday, May 29, at 7 p.m.
Tickets to hear Hirschfeld and Leopold are $25 for museum members and $45 for non-members. The public can purchase tickets online at www.hsvmuseum.org or by calling 256-535-4350 ext. 208.
Support for the Voices event and exhibition was generously provided by Donny’s Diamond Gallery, Patsy and Frank Haws, The Jurenko Foundation, Betsy and Peter Lowe, Judy and Oscar Maxwell, Signa Read, and Jeanie and Bill Snoddy. Additional support was provided by The Alabama State Council on the Arts, Colonial Graphics Group, Yellowbook, and The Women’s Guild of the Huntsville Museum of Art.
The Museum is closed on Mondays and some major holidays. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m.−4 p.m. with extended hours on Thursdays until 8 p.m. The museum is open Sundays 1−4 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults; $8 for military, students, teachers, and seniors with a valid ID; and $5 for children ages 6−11. Admission for museum members and children under 6 is free. After 5 p.m. on Thursdays, admission is only $5 for nonmembers, as part of the Museum’s $5 After Five program.