Here’s a great way to get people to attend an exhibit. Make the companion book, in this case The Hirschfeld Century: The Art of Al Hirschfeld, available exclusively on site.
Opening today, the New-York Historical Society exhibit showcases more than 100 Hirschfeld illustrations. The institution interviewed curator David Leopold, also creative director of The Al Hirschfeld Foundation. At one point, Leopold was asked what his favorite drawing in the show is:
“One of my absolute favorites in the show is a mixed media work of the Marx Brothers, probably created to promote their first MGM film, A Night at the Opera. Against a background of collaged sheet music is a portrait of the Marx Brothers: Harpo’s hair is made from cotton balls, Chico’s hair from Brillo pads and Groucho’s moustache from a black piece of felt. His glasses are fastened from pipe cleaners.”
“After this piece was published, MGM encouraged the Marx Brothers to conform to the cartoon. In their second film, A Day at the Races, Groucho’s hair was styled in two triangles just like Hirschfeld had drawn. Through his art, Hirschfeld helped define some of Hollywood’s most iconic characters.”
Hirschfeld passed away in 2003. The exhibit runs through October 15.