Twenty one limited-edition prints of acclaimed caricature artist Al Hirschfeld – signed by the iconic stage and screen stars featured in the image – are being auctioned online to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and the Al Hirschfeld Foundation, in partnership with Heritage Auctions, the largest collectibles auctioneer in the world.
The acclaimed performers who hand-signed the collectible prints this year are Eileen Atkins, Betty Buckley, Cher, Michael Crawford, Clive Davis, Judi Dench, Michael Feinstein, Ellen Greene, Joel Grey, Harry Groener, Mark Hamill, Billy Joel, Nathan Lane, Jose Llana, Reba McEntire, Donna McKechnie, Ian McKellen, Ian McShane, Steve Martin, Mandy Patinkin, Bernadette Peters, Faith Prince, Chita Rivera, Lea Salonga, Martin Short, Bruce Springsteen and Meryl Streep.
The auction launched Thursday, October 27, 2022, at HA.com/Hirschfeld, and runs through Sunday, November 20.
Among the signed and numbered lots featured in the Hirschfeld auction are:
● Three-time Oscar Award winner Meryl Streep, sketched in the white caftan costume she wears throughout the 1991 romantic comedy film Defending Your Life, signed by Streep.
● A never-before-seen privately commissioned piece featuring Grammy Award winner Billy Joel alongside the Gershwin brothers, George and Ira. The giclée is signed by Joel, a Tony Award winner for Movin’ Out.
● Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Clive Davis, in a color portrait originally commissioned by Arista Records and signed by Davis.
● A never-before-seen portrait of Michael Crawford in the title role in The Phantom of the Opera, dressed in hat and cape with iconic mask in hand. The print is signed by Crawford, who won a Tony Award for originating the role.
Hirschfeld’s drawings stand as one of the most innovative efforts in establishing the visual language of modern art through caricature in the 20th century. A self-described “characterist,” Hirschfeld’s signature work, defined by a linear calligraphic style, appeared in virtually every major publication over nine decades (including a 75-year relationship with The New York Times), as well as numerous book and record covers and 15 postage stamps. Hirschfeld, a two-time Tony Award recipient, died in 2003 at the age of 99. Later that year, Broadway’s Martin Beck Theatre was renamed the Al Hirschfeld Theatre.
“All of us at Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS count ourselves among the legion of Al Hirschfeld fans,” Broadway Cares Executive Director Tom Viola said. “This unique collaboration with the Al Hirschfeld Foundation in partnership with Heritage Auctions will help ensure much-needed health care and medication, nutritious meals, counseling and emergency assistance for those across the country affected by HIV/AIDS, COVID-19 and other life-threatening illnesses.”
“We are delighted to partner with Broadway Cares and Heritage Auctions to bring these iconic prints to the public,” said David Leopold, the Creative Director of the Al Hirschfeld Foundation. “We have received requests for years to have some of these images be published as prints. Having the performers, who felt honored to be drawn by The Line King, return the favor by signing these very limited editions is a tribute to how much Hirschfeld and Broadway Cares means to this community.”
“Al Hirschfeld’s long and illustrious career goes beyond that of an artist,” says Meagen McMillan, Heritage Auctions’ Senior Specialist in Illustration and American Art. “The legendary caricaturist captured and documented with humor and line every great zeitgeist, icon and celebrity who crossed his path throughout his career spanning nine decades, from Broadway to Hollywood and beyond. Hirschfeld’s body of work can be seen as an archive of American performance art of the 20th century. While we have always celebrated this graphic satirist at Heritage Auctions, we are thrilled to be partnering with The Al Hirschfeld Foundation and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS to further the Hirschfeld’s legacy of support and promotion of the dramatic arts with our upcoming charitable auction.”
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS was born from the hearts of those in the theater community as our nation was facing the scourge of the AIDS pandemic. For more than 30 years, Broadway Cares has turned anger and sorrow into action. And now, in the wake of another pandemic, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS remains the philanthropic heart of Broadway. As the nation and the nation’s theaters emerge from a devastating 15 months with hundreds of thousands still in crisis, Broadway Cares’ commitment has never wavered from ensuring that those in need get groceries and medication, health care and hope.
The partnership between Broadway Cares and the Al Hirschfeld Foundation was conceived and brokered by The Erlick Group, a leading, New York-based entertainment sponsorship agency since 1992.