Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Absolut Hirschfeld

Caricaturist Al Hirschfeld's contribution to the Absolut Vodka campaign was published in the New Yorker of December 15, 1997, the Cartoon Issue. Hirschfeld has captured his own features perfectly, and he's captured the Absolut bottle's signature design perfectly as well. Note how effectively this color painting nevertheless uses black and white contrast in both Hirschfeld's beard and the ink drawing of the bottle. Hirschfeld's upper body tilts to the top right while the paper is tilted more but to the bottom right and the bottle is rendered at an even more extreme angle. The perspective lines of the paper and table point to Hirschfeld, while Hirschfeld's lines point to the pen and the bottle. Thus this pictorial depiction of the relatively static activity of drawing becomes a dynamic, angular composition.

Absolut Hirschfeld.
Al Hirschfeld, The New Yorker, December 15, 1997, page 9

Hirschfeld indicates he has hidden the name Absolut in this drawing eighteen times and the name of his daughter Nina once. I refuse to verify the accuracy of these numbers, but you're welcome to pursue the matter on your own.

January 15, 2016 Update:  According to the Margo Feiden Gallery, Hirschfeld created a limited edition lithograph of this image in 1993. This indicates that the image is older than its 1997 publication date in the New Yorker.

eBay Listing Copied January 15, 2016

Finally, this magnification is suitable for finding Nina:

Note:  This concludes at least for now my survey of the Absolut Vodka advertising campaign as it relates to artists associated with the New Yorker.

Al Hirschfeld's art is another subject too vast to be covered adequately on my little blog, but I nonetheless do try every now and then.


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