Heritage Auctions, the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer, today launched an online auction of 21 limited-edition prints by acclaimed caricature artist Al Hirschfeld – signed by the iconic stage and screen stars featured in the images – to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and the Al Hirschfeld Foundation. Bidding closes on Sunday, November 20, when the winners will be announced.
The acclaimed performers who hand-signed the collectible prints this year are Eileen Atkins, Betty Buckley, Cher, Michael Crawford, Clive Davis, Judi Dench, Michael Feinstein, Ellen Greene, Joel Grey, Harry Groener, Mark Hamill, Billy Joel, Nathan Lane, Jose Llana, Reba McEntire, Donna McKechnie, Ian McKellen, Ian McShane, Steve Martin, Mandy Patinkin, Bernadette Peters, Faith Prince, Chita Rivera, Lea Salonga, Martin Short, Bruce Springsteen, and Meryl Streep.
“We are delighted to partner with Broadway Cares and Heritage Auctions to bring these iconic prints to the public,” said David Leopold, the Creative Director of the Al Hirschfeld Foundation. “We have received requests for years to have some of these images be published as prints. Having the performers, who felt honored to be drawn by The Line King, return the favor by signing these very limited editions is a tribute to how much Hirschfeld and Broadway Cares means to this community.”
“All of us at Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS count ourselves among the legion of Al Hirschfeld fans,” noted Broadway Cares Executive Director Tom Viola. “This unique collaboration with the Al Hirschfeld Foundation in partnership with Heritage Auctions will help ensure much-needed health care and medication, nutritious meals, counseling and emergency assistance for those across the country affected by HIV/AIDS, COVID-19 and other life-threatening illnesses.”
Among the signed and numbered lots featured in the Hirschfeld auction are:
A never-before-seen portrait of Michael Crawford as the titular character in The Phantom of the Opera, dressed in hat and cape with the iconic mask in hand. The print is signed by Crawford, who won a Tony Award for originating the role;
a previously unseen privately commissioned piece featuring Grammy Award winner Billy Joel alongside the Gershwin brothers George and Ira. The giclée print is signed by Joel, a Tony Award winner for Movin’ Out;
and a scene from the Broadway revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical Flower Drum Song, the sketch of which was first published in The New York Times on Sunday, October 13, 2002. Capturing Tony Award winner Lea Salonga, Jose Llana, and Sandra Allen performing the song “Fan Tan Fannie,” the print is signed by Salonga.
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,” Hirschfeld’s signature work, defined by a linear calligraphic style, appeared in virtually every major publication over nine decades (including a 75-year relationship with The New York Times), as well as numerous book and record covers and 15 postage stamps. The two-time Tony Award recipient died at the age of 99, in 2003. To honor him, later that year Broadway’s Martin Beck Theatre was renamed the Al Hirschfeld Theatre.
According to Meagen McMillan, Heritage Auctions’ Senior Specialist in Illustration and American Art, “Hirschfeld’s body of work can be seen as an archive of American performance art of the 20th century. While we have always celebrated this graphic satirist at Heritage Auctions, we are thrilled to be partnering with the Al Hirschfeld Foundation and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS to further the Hirschfeld’s legacy of support and promotion of the dramatic arts.”
Each print has an estimated value of $2500, with an opening bid of $525, plus an added 25% Buyer’s Premium.
Hirschfeld Celebrity Autograph Charity Auction runs through Sunday, November 20, 2022, at Heritage Auctions. To view all the lots, and to submit your bid, go online.