The Hirschfeld Century: The Art of Al Hirschfeld examines his influences, his iconography, and his techniques, from his earliest works to his last drawings. Visitors will have the opportunity to trace this unique artist's evolution by viewing his own body of work, including drawings, paintings, selections from sketchbooks, ephemera, and video. The exhibition is being organized in partnership with the Al Hirschfeld Foundation and is guest-curated by David Leopold, the Foundation's Archivist.
The Art of Al Hirschfeld was organized by Louise Kerz Hirschfeld, President of the Al Hirschfeld Foundation, and the New-York Historical Society, and was curated by David Leopold, Archivist of the Al Hirschfeld Foundation.
Leadership support for The Art of Al Hirschfeld has been provided by the The Al Hirschfeld Foundation, Lewis B. Cullman and Louise Kerz Hirschfeld, Edwin Schloss, and Janine Luke, in memory of Melvin Seiden.
Major support provided by Patty & Jay Baker Foundation, The Leo Kerz Family/Jonathan, Antony, Leslie & Grandchildren, Bernard & Irene Schwartz, Sue Ann Weinberg; Lawrence B. Benenson, A G Foundation/Agnes Gund, The Robert and Joyce Menschel Family Foundation, Martin A. Packouz, and Jujamcyn Theaters/Jordan Roth & Paul Libin.
Additional support from Donal A. Pels Charitable Trust, The Jerome Robbins Foundation, Kathy Hayes, Alan & Betsy Cohn, Jamie DeRoy, The Ronald & Jo Carole Lauder Foundation, Cameron MacIntosh Foundation, The Dorothy Strelsin Foundation/Enid Nemy, Bruce E. Surry and Lynn Surry, Anita & Byron Wien, Larry Condon, Harry P. Kamen Family Foundation, and The Mortimer Levitt Foundation.
Woven throughout the installation are a medley of artist portraits that traces American masters from Benjamin West’s London studio to the mid-nineteenth century ateliers of New York. Highlights include works by Gerardus Duyckinck, Charles Willson Peale, Gilbert Stuart, Benjamin West, Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, Thomas Birch, Thomas Buttersworth, William Sidney Mount, John F. Kensett, John Singer Sargent and Childe Hassam.
Vergara remarked about his work that “most murals and street portraits of Dr. King are ephemeral. Paint fades, businesses change hands and neighborhood demographics shift. Gradually, images reflecting the culture and values of poor communities are lost….Often, my photographs are the only lasting record of these public works of art.” This exhibition offers the opportunity to study the manner in which Martin Luther King, Jr. has reached into the hearts of artists from New York to Los Angeles, Chicago to Detroit, and how the artists’s images have depicted the soul of the great civil rights leader in a manner that reaches out to communities nation-wide.
Camilo Vergara will donate all of the works in The Dream Continues: Photographs of Martin Luther King Murals by Vergara to the New-York Historical Society after the close of the exhibition. For more information on Camilo Vergara, visit his website.
Beauty’s Legacy will include portraits of prominent New York sitters including Emma Thursby, Samuel Verplanck Hoffman, Mary Barrett Wendell, Reverend Henry Codman Potter, and Mary Gardiner Thompsonby done by such American artists as John Singer Sargent, James Carroll Beckwith, George Peter Alexander Healy, Daniel Huntington, Eastman Johnson, and Benjamin Curtis Porter. Paintings of other New Yorkers including James Hazen Hyde, Georgina Schuyler, Samuel Ward McAllister, Cortlandt Field Bishop, Leonard and Rosalie Lewisohn, and Samuel Untermyer by Léon Bonnat, Bouguereau, Carolus-Duran, Alexandre Cabanel, Anders Zorn, and Théobald Chartran reflect the vigorous American demand for portraits by European artists.
A selection of twenty-five miniature portraits of reigning social celebrities from Peter Marié’s Beauties of The Gilded Age will also be displayed. Deepening the historical context of these works, photographs and graphic materials will document the opulent residences built for the sitters and their images in fancy dress for lavish costume balls and society weddings. In addition, advertising graphics will record the fashions and cosmetics popular among the belles of New York society.
A catalogue will accompany the exhibition which will include essays by Dr. Gallati as well as Dr. Valerie Steele, Director and Chief Curator of the Museum at The Fashion Institute of Technology. It will be published by the New-York Historical Society in association with D Giles Limited, London.