self-portraitHe died just shy of 100, the greatest and best-known caricaturist of the 20th century, and he drew until the very end. It is odd to say he was underrated, but familiarity bred, if not contempt, then more familiarity and when you saw him every week in the Sunday Times it was easy to forget what a master of line and tone he was, how much he could do with how little.

Early in his career Hirschfeld dated his drawings. When his daughter Nina was born in 1945 he started hiding her name several times in each drawing; NINA-hunting became a popular sport, so he put the number of NINAs next to his signature instead of the date. One day a devoted fan complained to Hirschfeld that of 43 NINAs she could find only 29. (Howard Owens also has a few words.)

Aaron Haspel | Posted January 20, 2003 @ 11:49 PM | Culture

1 Response to “Al Hirschfeld, 1903-2003”

  1. 1 1. Kaplan

    I just had the good fortune of meeting his widow when my client and friend bought his house. Very nice woman.

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