Al Hirschfeld Foundation Will Honor Louise Hirschfeld Cullman at Gala Reception

Al Hirschfeld Foundation Will Honor Louise Hirschfeld Cullman at Gala Reception

The Al Hirschfeld Foundation will celebrate Louise Hirschfeld Cullman at a reception on September 24, 6PM - 8PM at The National Arts Club (15 Gramercy Park South, NYC 10003). With cocktails and hors d'oeuvresserved, entertainment by Award-wining vocalist K.T. Sullivan, and a silent auction, all proceeds will benefit the non-profit Al Hirschfeld Foundation, for which Louise Hirschfeld Cullman served as founding president for 12 years after the death of her husband in 2003. Tickets, starting at $200, can be at www.AlHirschfeldFoundationshop.org.

Louise Hirschfeld Cullman is a woman of many talents: theater historian; research consultant for major networks, museums, and award-winning producers; an exhibiting photographer; and Tony Awards nominator. In her tenure as President of The Al Hirschfeld Foundation, Louise oversaw exhibitions around the world, supervised publications, and spearheaded philanthropic endeavors, culminating in the May 2015 opening of The Hirschfeld Century: An Al Hirschfeld Retrospective at the New-York Historical Society-the most ambitious Hirschfeld exhibition ever mounted, with a comprehensive and historic companion book. She feels that one of the most rewarding ventures she pioneered under the Foundation's continuing guidance is the collaboration with the New York City Board of Education to produce The Al Hirschfeld Project, a curriculum for teaching the arts in New York public schools, which is now being taken nationwide. She married Lewis B. Cullman in 2010 and the couple was designated as New York City Living Landmarks in 2012.

"Louise is largely responsible for carrying Al Hirschfeld's into the 21st Century," says Lynn Surry, president of The Al Hirschfeld Foundation. "Al Hirschfeld's artwork may be one of the most comprehensive and unique reflections of 20th Century Theater film, politics and popular culture. Through exhibitions, installations, books, and educational initiatives, Louise's leadership has made it possible for long-time fans and new generations alike to celebrate the Hirschfeld legacy. The Al Hirschfeld Foundation and Nina-hunters everywhere are grateful to Louise for her invaluable contributions."

The Al Hirschfeld Foundation fulfills its mission to promote interest in the performing and visual arts and education by supporting a wide range of not-for-profit institutions. By utilizing Hirschfeld's nine decades of art to help build audiences, increase revenue, and provide a rally point for arts organizations, the Foundation has had a significant impact around the country through exhibitions, educational programs, and grants. In 2008, the Foundation partnered with the New York City Board of Education to create a landmark curriculum based on Hirschfeld's art for grades K-12. In addition to teaching students about the history of 20th century performing arts, the curriculum teaches students about observation, prioritization, and visualization across a spectrum of disciplines. For more information or to see thousands of Hirschfeld artworks, please visit www.AlHirschfeldFoundation.org.

Al 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," 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 a drawing for the play Are You With It? What the artist 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. He was declared a Living Landmark by the New York City Landmarks Commission in 1996, and a Living Legend by The Library of Congress 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.

Image © The Al Hirschfeld Foundation

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