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Big Shot

‘The Hirschfeld Century: Portrait of an Artist and His Age,’ edited by David Leopold

Globe Staff

Over the course of his extraordinary eight-decade career, Al Hirschfeld defined 20th-century popular culture, caricaturing Broadway and Hollywood’s brightest luminaries with crow’s quill pen and ink. His iconic portraits depicted performers from Judy Garland and Katharine Hepburn to Joel Grey and Mick Jagger, and also writers and politicians, including every president from FDR to Clinton. His work graced the pages of major publications, movie posters, book and record covers, and even postage stamps.

This Hirschfeld retrospective includes more than 360 drawings, illustrations, and photographs, with works — some black-and-white, some color — ranging from the early years (he began his career at 17, rising from errand boy to artist at Goldwyn Pictures) to his death in 2003, at 99. With Leopold’s lively biographical text examining Hirschfeld’s influences, techniques, and prolific output, “The Hirschfeld Century” is the perfect visual epitaph to the visionary’s enchanting life and career.


“The Hirschfeld Century: Portrait of an Artist and His Age,” Knopf, $40