Past digital exhibition
Hirschfeld's New Season
October 10, 2021

With a new season of the arts finally happening and audiences back in theaters, concert halls and museums, we wanted to explore how Al Hirschfeld viewed a new season. What did he draw, and what does it tell us about that season? For more than sixty years, Hirschfeld showed us the people and the productions we should look for as the season unfolded.

It is not surprising that he often showed us what stage productions were about to open. Beginning in 1931 he gathered actors in new shows and created unique composites of the performers in their roles. He was a frequent visitor to rehearsals and while his contemporaries might be lying on the beach, Hirschfeld enjoyed the cool of a frequently windowless rehearsal room in late August. He was literally a curtain raiser, often taking viewers backstage and behind the curtain to see what would be soon presented at a theater near them. He did the same with film, television, and even books as you will see.

Starting in 1977, the New York Times gave him the opportunity to bring all his interests together in busy composites of the personalities that held the most promise in the new season. Ten times over twelve years, Hirschfeld produced the faces of the new season as the cover of special sections for the paper that covered, theater, film, dance, television, music and the visual arts. These drawings alone told readers that a new season was about to start, and like his theater drawings, it made viewers as knowledgeable about what was going on as any expert.

So get into your seats, unwrap your candy as the house lights are dimming. As Cole Porter wrote:

“The overture is about to start,
You cross your fingers and hold your heart,
It's curtain time and away we go,
Another op'nin', of another show!”

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Past digital exhibition
The Dog Show
June 6, 2021

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show may be over, but this dog show is ready to begin! For this exhibition, we’ve searched through the Hirschfeld archive for images of dogs of every size and shape. In many cases, the actual breed was noted on the record of the drawing. In others, we’re giving you our best educated guess. Dogs appear in drawings in nearly every category from theatre, film, television, music, and literature, as well as politics, private commissions, and Hirschfeld’s earliest lithographs.

We have separated the dogs seen in this show by breed, just as they do in conformation dog shows. Conformation dog shows are not a beauty contest and different breeds are not judged against each other. Each purebred dog breed has an established standard which may vary from organizations, and dogs are judged based on that standard. Judges are looking for the dog that best exemplifies the breed standard. 

There are breeds from each of the seven American Kennel Club groups represented: Sporting, Working, Terrier, Hound, Toy, Herding, and Non-Sporting and range in date from 1924 and through 2001. We have added a few at the end in a category we called the “Miscellaneous Mutt Group. You’ll learn about some of the most famous dogs in 20th century media, some dogs who weren’t so famous but well-loved by their humans, and learn some fun facts about different breeds. Maybe you’ll even fall in love with a breed and start looking for your next best friend. 

Katherine Eastman

Archives Manager

On her days off, Eastman practices as a Certified Professional Dog Trainer. She brings her two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Chandler and Bennett to work every day. The Al Hirschfeld Foundation is waiting for her to train them to sniff out NINAs.

You can see their adventures on Instagram @KatherineAndCavaliers.