"Al And Louise Hirschfeld" 1997

"Lena Horne" 1982

"Helen Hayes" 1954

"Marlene Dietrich" 1954

"Crime And Punishment" 1947

"Carol Hello Dolly Channing, 1964" 1964

"Ella Fitzgerald" 1993

"Mae - Diamond Lil West" 1949

"One Touch Of Venus" 1943

"Julie Andrews" 1977

"Ethel Merman" 1956

"Hepburn - Philadelphia Story" 1990

"Vanessa Redgrave" 1997

"Ash Wednesday" 1973

"Whoopi Goldberg" 1984

"The Women" 1973

Hirschfeld's Women

Celebrating Women's History Month

In 2010, the Al Hirschfeld Foundation collaborated with the The Shaw Festival in Canada on a striking installation, “Hirschfeld’s Women,” that gathered together some of the remarkable females that have appeared in Hirschfeld’s work and life. In honor of Women’s History Month, we are sharing the indelible images from that project, along with Louise Hirschfeld’s commentary.

I knew Al Hirschfeld for over thirty-five years before we married in 1996. I had the pleasure of meeting many of the women in these drawings, including several that were his friends. In his drawings, he gave incredible attention to details that would make every person come alive for his audience. In an era before video, his art was like “freeze frame” or stopped motion. Time, like anatomy and perspective, were rules he bent to create works that remain fresh and in the present. The artist has illuminated in these portraits his brilliance as psychic of the drawing board. When he first drew me, I was so nervous that I blushed! How lucky I was to become his third wife. Enjoy these works that come from his love affair with line, along with a few lines of my own.

Lena Horne in Jamaica, 1957

“Star quality, a dazzling face, figure, and voice from tropical

paradise. She gave new meaning to black and white.”

Helen Hayes, 1954

“ Perky, sweet—the grand dame of American Theater.”

Marlene Dietrich, 1989

“The greatest legs in the history of movies. Her sexy distant, ambivalent expression is for the viewer to analyze—come hither but beware!”

Dolly Haas and Lillian Gish in Crime and Punishment, 1947

“Like a Dresden doll, demure, inquisitive, caring with a European sensibility. Dolly was Al’s second wife for over 50 years, and mother of Nina. Lillian Gish, always the great innocent silent film star bravely, conquers new ground in the theater. She and his sister Dorothy were longtime friends of Al’s.”

Carol Channing in Hello, Dolly! 1964

“A beautiful giant, superb comedienne who invents herself by combining grand gestures with Stanislavsky acting technique and a voice like no other in musical theatre history. She claimed Al’s first drawing of her made her a star.”

Ella Fitzgerald, 1993

“ Al first heard Ella sing in Harlem in the early 1930s—the spiritual look combined with a jazz beat is his homage to the great singer.”

Mae West in Diamond Lil, 1949

“ Seductive, open, sexy and searching for a new male.”

Sono Osata and Mary Martin in One Touch of Venus, 1943

“ Lithe, graceful, flirtatious and bursting with song.”

Julie Andrews, 1977

“Delicate with lovely features with a voice like an angel and a personality to match. Julie was drawn more time by al than any other actress.”

Ethel Merman in Happy Hunting, 1956

“Confident, a show-off with a voice that travels outside theatres to Times Square.”

Katharine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story, 1990

“Elegant, joyous, a sophisticated carriage illustrates her own intelligent and comic identity. Kate and Al were great admirers of each other’s work.”

Vanessa Redgrave, 1997

“With an upturned lovely nose and a very straight neck, she can act, preach, instruct and we listen to the last living member of the English Theatre dynasty.”

Elizabeth Taylor, 1973

“Beautiful but dangerous, filled with outer- and inner-terror.”

Whoopi Goldberg, 1984

“ Topical comic who transforms herself into many characters...she knows them all and welcomes the audience to join her.”

The Women with Myrna Loy, Kim Hunter, Alexis Smith, Marie Wallace, Rhonda Flemming, Jan Miner, and Dorothy Loudon, 1973

“ A beguiling group of charming females with Myrna Loy as the sophisticated standout—always drawn by the artist with a heart-shaped mouth.”