Nadler Leads Congressional Honor for Late Caricaturist Al Hirschfeld

Feb 24, 2003

WASHINGTON - Legendary New York artist Al Hirschfeld is being honored today by the US House of Representatives, via a resolution offered by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and expected to be overwhelmingly passed later today. Hirschfeld died in his sleep late last month at the age of 99.

“Throughout his long and extraordinary career, Al Hirschfeld's drawings conveyed to millions of people the excitement and glamour of live theater,” said Rep. Nadler in a statement delivered on the floor of the House. “As the sponsor of this resolution, and as the Member of Congress representing the Broadway community, I appreciate the bi-partisan support this resolution has received.”

Al Hirschfeld, a caricaturist, drew nearly every important figure in the American theater and popular culture from Charlie Chaplin to Jerry Seinfeld. He gained wide recognition for his work, which appeared in The New York Times, as well as numerous books and museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, and the St. Louis Art Museum It was a mark of respect and an honor to be captured in a Hirschfeld.

He received two special Tony Awards for excellence in the theater and was named a living New York City landmark. Shortly before his passing, he learned that he had been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was to be presented with the National Medal of Arts by President Bush at the White House later this year. On June 21st of this year - which would have been his 100th birthday - he will have a theater named after him.

His love for family was apparent in his art -- in every drawing he did since her birth in 1945, the name of his daughter, Nina, could be found. In fact, it became a popular activity for regular readers of The New York Times to locate the one (or many) Ninas hidden throughout his drawings.

“We will never forget Al Hirschfeld -- his work will endure for generations -- but there is a big hole in the Sunday Times these days with no Hirschfeld drawing to liven up the drama pages and no Ninas to search for,” said Rep. Nadler. “I thank my colleagues for joining me in this tribute.”

Rep. Nadler has served in Congress since 1992. He represents the 8th Congressional District of New York, which includes parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn. He was captured in a Hirschfeld drawing, which proudly hangs in his Washington, DC office.