150 Greatest Cartoonists Countdown: #141 Al Hirschfeld

#141 Al Hirschfeld

Pictured above: Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Count Basie and Duke Ellington… click the image to see a larger version on the site I found it at.

Al Hirschfeld did more with a few lines than any other cartoonist in history. His caricatures captured the essence of people perfectly, simplifying them and stripping them down to the bare essentials. They were always immediately recognizable in spite of this extreme distillation. Anyone who has attempted caricature knows how difficult it is to do well at all, let alone using so few lines. His ability to do this consistently regardless of the subject is nothing short of amazing… that he did it that well for 70 or so years is mind-blowing.

Hirschfeld has no competition as the greatest caricaturist of all time.

There’s an excellent gallery of some of his work here.

Here’s a video of him drawing at age 99…

Click here to read the entry about Al Hirschfeld at lambiek.net.

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