Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Encounter with a Hirschfeld

Yesterday, some good friends and I (all artists) decided to visit the nearby Brandywine River Museum, which is famous for its large collection of Wyeth paintings (three generations worth--N.C, Andrew, and Jamie). Imagine our surprise when the first gallery we walked into, 'American Illustration', devoted one wall to Al Hirschfeld, David Levine, and Rube Goldberg! I am fairly sure I have never seen a Hirschfeld original that close up. It was a large pen & ink of the Odd Couple...but not the usual cast you'd think: it was Peter Ustinov and Boris Karloff. Of course, I could not take photos in the museum, so I'm posting below a similar version with Matthau and Carney. The 'Nina' that Hirschfeld inscribed on every drawing was there, and his lines had real texture and weight to them. They were not boringly perfect, but organically interesting. He definitely was the 'Line King'.
The Levine was a small cross-hatched drawing of General Custer, and the Goldberg was a pencil rendition of an outlandish contraption of some sort. But the jewel was that Hirschfeld, which was the highlight of my visit.


  1. WOW Emily, what a treat, I could probably spend a couple of hours just analyzing that piece, I love Hirschfeld, you're lucky.

  2. That piece was huge and amazing! I had a look for it online too but couldn't find it. You'll have to buy a hat with a camera in it.