Metro Weekly

Gallery: It Goes So Fast – Our Town by Hirschfeld

Virtual show celebrating Al Hirschfeld's works reflecting on Thornton Wilder's "Our Town"

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Al Hirschfeld: Self Portrait in Barber Chair, 1989 — © The Al Hirschfeld Foundation

Al Hirschfeld’s prodigious artistic output spans a full nine decades. “Long before video cameras, it was Al doing the accurate recording of our greatest shows,” reads a published description from a 2013 New York Public Library exhibition of the legendary caricature artist’s work. “Because of his incredible attention to visual detail and near-photographic eye, Hirschfeld’s drawings provide a wealth of visual history not only of the theater but of American cultural life.”

And that particular writer, New York theater historian Louise Kerz, who was married to Hirschfeld, has helped ensure his work remained in cultural circulation since his death nearly two decades ago.

Launched by Kerz, the Al Hirschfeld Foundation carries on the artist’s legacy in part by organizing fascinating thematic exhibitions showcasing different works, yet all representative of Hirschfeld’s signature linear calligraphic style.

The foundation’s latest online show features Hirschfeld’s reflections on Thornton Wilder’s landmark drama Our Town.

“In only 10 drawings, Hirschfeld managed to commemorate all four productions that have played on Broadway to date, ranging from the original in 1938 to the most recent revival in 2002,” writes guest curator Howard Sherman, author of a new book about the Wilder classic.

“He also captured all of the men who played the Stage Manager on Broadway, an estimable quartet made up of Frank Craven, Henry Fonda, Spalding Gray, and Paul Newman, as well as various other members of the companies.”

On display through May 15. Visit www.alhirschfeldfoundation.org/exhibitions.

See some of Hirschfeld’s works below:

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Our Town with Henry Fonda, Elizabeth Hartman, and Harvey Evan 1969 — © The Al Hirschfeld Foundation
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Our Town with James Rebhorn, Frances Conroy, Eric Stoltz, Peter Maloney, Roberta Maxwell, Ann Miller, Spalding Gray, 1988 — © The Al Hirschfeld Foundation
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Paul Newman in Our Town 2002 — © The Al Hirschfeld Foundation
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Borscht Circuit – Green Mansion Players of Warrensburg, NY present Our Town, 1939 — © The Al Hirschfeld Foundation
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Tv Replacements – Sinatra for Frank Craven in Our Town, Mary Martin for Tallulah in Skin of Our Teeth, 1955 — © The Al Hirschfeld Foundation

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Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @ruleonwriting.

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