Algonquin Hotel Lobby Will Feature the Art of Al Hirschfeld Starting 11/19
This month, one of New York's most iconic hotels celebrates one of New York's most iconic artists in a unique art installation. The Algonquin Hotel Celebrates The Hirschfeld Century, will be presented in the legendary lobby of the Algonquin Hotel November 19, 2015 through March 31, 2016.
The Algonquin Hotel Celebrates The Hirschfeld Century features over 30 over-sized Hirschfeld portraits depicting some of The Algonquin's most famous residents. From the top of the lobby's iconic oak paneling up to the 22-foot high ceilings, the likes of John Barrymore, Harpo Marx, Tennessee Williams, Ella Fitzgerald, peer down at visitors. The artwork for the hit musical, My Fair Lady, which was written in Lerner and Loewe's suite on the ninth floor of the hotel, will be shown. The Round Table returns home at last as Hirschfeld's definitive portrait featuring Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, Alexander Woollcott, Edna Ferber, George S. Kaufman, Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt, and more,is displayed at the spot where the original vicious circle once gathered over spiked drinks and witticisms. Additionally, the installation features favorite Hirschfeld portraits of Charlie Chaplin, Elvis Presley, Carol Channing, John Lithgow, David Letterman, Jack Lemmon, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Laurel & Hardy, Fanny Brice & George Jessel, Frank Langella, Mary Martin, Issac Stern and more legendary Broadway, Hollywood and recording artists.
"The Algonquin Hotel was designated a New York City Landmark in 1987. Nine years later, Al Hirschfeld was declared a New York City living landmark. So it doesn't get more quintessentially New York thanThe Algonquin Hotel Celebrates The Hirschfeld Century," says David Leopold, Creative Director, The Al Hirschfeld Foundation. "Hirschfeld had frequented The Algonquin throughout his entire life. Many members of the Algonquin Round Table helped launch his career, reflecting a century in art. Now, Al Hirschfeld returns to The Algonquin with more than thirty friends to celebrate a century of art and performance, some of which was created in the hotel."
"Just steps away from Fifth Avenue, the theatre district, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and Radio City Music Hall, this celebration of Hirschfeld's work may be the most entertaining destination to warm up with a cocktail, hot chocolate, or snack after a day of theatergoing, site-seeing, or holiday shopping," says General Manager Manny Rappenecker. "Relax, look up at the portraits, guess who is who and see if you can find the NINAs." The Lobby Lounge serves cocktails and bar bites daily starting at 11:30AM and also offers pre-theater dining.
The art installation at The Algonquin Hotel coincides with the recent release of The Hirschfeld Century: Portrait of an Artist and His Age, published by Alfred A. Knopf, edited and with text by David Leopold.
The hotel encourages all to share photos and memories with both the Algonquin and Hirschfeld Foundation. Complimentary WiFi is available in the lobby and restaurant. Guests can use #AlgonquinHirschfeld to tag posts and share them with @AlgonquinNYC and @AlHirschfeld on Instagram and Twitter.
The Algonquin Hotel, Times Square, opened November 22, 1902. The hotel is the oldest and longest operating in the city and is located on historic Club Row, West 44th Street. The 181-room hotel is known for its rich history, famous clientele over the years and is located just a block from the lights of Times Square and steps from the shops of Fifth Avenue. Guest accommodations include luxury amenities: Beekman 1802 bathroom toiletries, complimentary wifi and flat screen televisions. The Round Table Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, Blue Bar offers pre theater dining and all day light fare is available in the vibrant lobby lounge. Matilda is the current feline in residence and continues The Algonquin tradition of having a house cat since the 1920's. Instagram and Twitter: @AlgonquinNYC. The Algonquin Hotel, 59 W 44th Street, New York, New York 10036. www.algonquinhotel.com
Al Hirschfeld's drawings stand as one of the most innovative efforts in establishing the visuallanguage of modern art through caricature in the 20th century. A self described "characterist," his signature work, defined by a linear calligraphic style, appeared in virtually every major publication of the last 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 said his contribution was to take the character, created by the playwright and portrayed by the actor, and reinvent it for the reader. Playwright Terrence McNally wrote: "No one 'writes' more accurately of the performing arts than Al Hirschfeld. He accomplishes on a blank page with his pen and ink in a few strokes what many of us need a lifetime of words to say."
In 1945, Hirschfeld celebrated the birth of his daughter Nina by placing her name in the background of an illustration for the play Are You With It? What the artists described as an innocent prank soon became a personal trademark and national obsession, as he began hiding numerous NINA's throughout his drawings for years to come.
He is represented in many public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Portrait Gallery, and Harvard's Theater Collection. Hirschfeld authored several books including Manhattan Oases and Show Business is No Business in addition to 10 collections of his work. The Library of Congress declared him a Living Landmark by the New York City Landmarks Commission in 1996 and a Living Legend in 2000. Just before his death in January 2003, he learned he was to be awarded the Medal of Arts from the National Endowment of the Arts and inducted into the Academy of Arts and Letters. The winner of two Tony Awards, he was given the ultimate Broadway accolade on what would have been his 100th birthday in June 2003. The Martin Beck Theater was renamed the Al Hirschfeld Theater.
The mission of the Al Hirschfeld Foundation is to promote interest in the theater and dramatic arts by supporting not-for-profit museums, libraries, theaters and similar cultural institutions. The Foundation fulfills its mission by making grants to such organizations, by mounting exhibitions of Al Hirschfeld's artworks at museums and other venues and by donating or lending Al Hirschfeld's artworks to such organizations. A board of directors led by Louise Kerz Hirschfeld, President, manages the Foundation. The Foundation maintains an extensive collection of Hirschfeld artworks and lends pieces to institutions all over the world. Papers from the first half-century of Hirschfeld's career are held by the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. The Harvard Theatre Collection holds the largest public collection of Hirschfeld art and ephemera. There are also significant holdings at the Library of Congress, the National Portrait Gallery, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.