Mar 2, 2022
Celebrate Black History in Popular Culture
One of the original art forms that America can take credit for is jazz, which was created by Black musicians.

"marian anderson"

So much of American popular culture is the work of Black artists. One of the original art forms that America can take credit for is jazz, which was created by Black musicians. Rock and roll began with White performers re-recording songs by Black performers. Even the acclaimed musical comedy, another American original, draws as much from Black performers and minstrel shows, as it does from European operettas. As the 20th Century unfolded, Hirschfeld's drawings captured a great deal of the impact Black artists had on the performing arts in America.

His early drawings of Black performers can be offensive to our eyes in the 21st Century, but they unfortunately capture the narrow minstrel-like range Black performers were forced into in the 1920s and 1930s. As a wider spectrum of roles were offered or created by Black artists, Hirschfeld drew them as well.

For Black History Month, we have collected articles and exhibitions currently on our website the explore the role of Black performing artists in America as seen through Hirschfeld's work. We invite you to immerse yourself in this work and celebrate the accomplishments of Black artists. A third of our online exhibitions to date have focused on Black history, and we have new ones on Black film and Black music in the works.

As Hirschfeld wrote in 2002 in a new introduction to his classic book Harlem as seen by Hirschfeld about Harlem residents, but could just as easily be applied to many Black people, "Harlem people just kept on rising above whatever met them at eye level; regardless of the rugged terrain or the economic weather, Harlem residents had their own means of levitation. They perfected an art form beyond the Arts, beyond the stage, beyond the Cotton Club. Very real people meeting reality head on and then stubbornly transcending it."

Backstory in Black and White

Learn how Hirschfeld’s earliest-known portrait of Duke Ellington helped the legendary composer and musician deal with racism in his first national tour in 1931, in an enlightening essay by Ellington scholar, Steven Lasker

Shuffle Along

In 2015, one of the most anticipated shows on Broadway was Shuffle Along Or The Making of the Musicial Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed. This new production was just that: the story of the making of Shuffle Along, the landmark African-American musical revue of 1921. See drawings of the cast members, as well as a fair share of performers from the original production.

Lost in the Stars: Black Theater Makers Drawn by Hirschfeld

Despite Broadway’s nickname as The Great White Way, Black actors, directors, composers, lyricists, playwrights, designers, and producers have long played an important role in the American Theater. Visit this exhibition and learn of some of the Black artists that make the American Theater what it is today.

Harlem as seen by Hirschfeld: An 80th Anniversary Celebration

This exhibit contains a mix of well and lesser-known artists, and nameless groups of dancers, who have contributed to the history of dance in America, curated by dance historian and choreographer Melanie George.

Dec 20, 2018
Support for the Al Hirschfeld Foundation
In September we had the pleasure of honoring our Founder and all-around wonderful person, Louise Hirschfeld Cullman in a special event at the National Arts Club. The starry evening was a terrific way to salute Louise and all she has accomplished for the Foundation and beyond, and it also proved to a very successful fundraiser, with proceeds nearly triple what was expected.
Dec 20, 2018
The Business of Hirschfeld
Hirschfeld is reaching new audiences and new collectors all the time. It has been another great year in the marketplace for Hirschfeld with big sales in auctions for works such as Cabin in the Sky and recently the Marx Brothers.
Dec 20, 2018
Hirschfeld Stories
In January of this year, we published a remarkable article by a Duke Ellington scholar that revealed Hirschfeld’s important contribution to Ellington’s early career, and how Al helped Duke deal with racism in his first national tours. We are regularly discovering new aspects of Hirschfeld’s art, as well as discovering works that we had never seen before.
Dec 20, 2018
Al Hirschfeld's Show Business
For an artist who has been gone for fifteen years, Al Hirschfeld remains pretty busy.
Nov 12, 2018
The Al Hirschfeld Foundation Returns to California For Another Pop Up Gallery
We are pleased to partner again with Stuart Ng Booksto bring a one night only exhibition and sale to the Los Angeles area this Tuesday, November 13th.
Nov 12, 2018
Hirschfeld's Copy of Hemingway's First Book on Sale
There were only three hundred copies of Ernest Hemingway's first book published in 1923, and one was purchased by a young American artist who had gone to Paris to, in his words, “get rid of the commercial side of my art." Already a veteran of movie studio publicity departments where he had only recently discovered caricature, the 22 year old Al Hirschfeld picked up a copy of Hemingway's first book at Shakespeare and Company in 1925.
Oct 19, 2018
Event Honoring Louise Hirschfeld Cullman
On September 24th, the Al Hirschfeld Foundation celebrated its founder, Louise Hirschfeld Cullman with a special night at the National Arts Club. 
Feb 13, 2018
Hirschfeld’s Advice to the Lovelorn
Ruth and Gus Goetz were successful playwrights and screenwriters, best known today for The Heiress. They were longtime close friends of the Hirschfelds. In this excerpt from Judy Goetz Sanger’s forthcoming memoir, Spirits of the Staircase, Sanger, the Goetz’s only child, tells a story of how Hirschfeld helped her through a “bad patch” in her first marriage.
Jan 14, 2018
2017 In Review
Just over 90 years since his first theatrical drawing was published, and nearly 100 years since he published his first work, Al Hirschfeld remains in the public’s eye and is quite busy. As a new year begins, we wanted to take a moment and recap some of the highlights of the last year for the Al Hirschfeld Foundation.