Hirschfeld author to speak at Rago open house April 12

Al Hirschfeld self-portrait. Image courtesy of Rago Arts & Auction Center

Al Hirschfeld self-portrait. Image courtesy of Rago Arts & Auction Center


LAMBERTVILLE, N.J. – The Rago Arts and Auction Center hosts an open house on Wednesday, April 12, featuring David Leopold, author of The Hirschfeld Century: A Portrait of an Artist and His Age.

The Hirschfeld Century is an 82-year era in which Al Hirschfeld both recorded and defined much of popular culture, especially through his drawings of productions on Broadway and in Hollywood. Leopold, who is also the creative director of the Hirshfeld Foundation, will tell Hirschfeld’s story through words and pictures.

The artistry of Al Hirschfeld (1903-2003) gave the 20th century a distinct visual language of modern art through caricature. A self described “characterist,” his signature work, defined by a linear calligraphic style, appeared in virtually every major publication of the last nine decades, including a 75-year relationship with The New York Times, as well as numerous book and record covers and 15 postage stamps.

He caricatured the most influential artists and politicians of the century from the Marx Brothers to Mick Jagger, and every president from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Bill Clinton. To be “Hirschfelded” was a sign that one had arrived.

Leopold is an author and curator who has organized exhibitions for institutions around the country. He organized the archive of Al Hirschfeld’s work for the artist, visiting Hirschfeld in his studio at least once a week for 13 years until the artist’s death in 2003. His latest book, The Hirschfeld Century: A Portrait of the Artist and His Age, published by Alfred A. Knopf to coincide with a major retrospective that Leopold curated for the New-York Historical Society.

Leopold will also be signing copies of The Hirschfeld Century, heralded in The New York Times, featured on CBS Sunday Morning, and selected by Amazon as one of the Top 100 Books of 2015.

A wine and cheese reception begins at 5 p.m. Leopold’s talk begins at 6 p.m. RSVP to 609-397-9374 ext. 119 or raac@ragoarts.com. If unable to RSVP, please attend anyway. All are welcome.