Lou Hirshman

LOU HIRSHMAN and his home away from home

In the late-1940s, Lou Hirshman, once a student at the precursor of the Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia, became one of its teachers – and later its faculty director. We reprint a Fleisher blog post, in which the revered art school, administered by the city’s Museum of Art, rediscovers one of its own.

 

Rediscovering Fleisher’s Sophisticated Junk Collector

Posted By: Dominic Mercier

05/02/2017

Louis Hirshman hated driving.

His son, William, recalls being in the family Volkswagen with him one time, and his father kept a deathgrip on the vehicle’s interior handles for the entire ride. Hirshman’s preferred method of transportation was his own two feet, and he would make the five-mile walk from his home and studio in West Philadelphia to Fleisher nearly every day.

The walks were an “important time for him, almost meditation. I imagine a lot of ideas would go through his head and sometimes he would discover his found objects,” William says. “He walked in all kinds of weather and when his shoes would get holes in them he would just shove cardboard in there or would resole them with old tires.”


Above: Louis Hirshman with a number of his caricatures.

A “sophisticated junk collector,” those found objects were the basis for the caricatures of movie stars and politicians for which Hirshman is so well known. From his pre-war depiction of Hitler, who Hirshman skewered with a leather glove to represent the dictator’s famous sweep of hair and dustpan of manure for a body, to John D. Rockefeller and his rock shale body, no one in the public eye was safe from Hirshman’s withering wit. A Swiss Army Knife of an artist, Hirshman didn’t just rely on the objects he found, but he also created the food items that play pivotal roles in so many of his works, devised an ingenious way of attaching everything to the substrate, and framed the works himself.

After his immigration to Philadelphia from the Ukraine in 1909, Hirshman, was a fixture at Fleisher from his first days as a student of the Graphic Sketch Club in the 1920s until his retirement as faculty director in 1977. In the years between, he did a stint in the Army, studied in Paris and Italy on scholarship, and helped produce one of the first examples of avant-garde film making in the country with Story of a Nobody, which was housed in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art until its degradation and disposal in 1956.

Above: Louis Hirshman, left, with Fleisher faculty members Mac Fisher and Louise Clement-Hoff. 

At Fleisher, he instructed both adults and young artists in a number of mediums, with one former student remembering that he used to call refer to himself as “Mr. Hersheybar” in the Saturday children’s classes. And despite his Jewish faith, he regularly organized Fleisher’s children’s Christmas parties. But despite his impact on Fleisher’s young students, his own children, William and Deborah, couldn’t help but feel a little left out of their father’s life.

Above: Louis Hirshman, left, oversees a Fleisher landscape class at Manheim Academy in the 1970s. 

“He said one time,” Deborah recalls, “when we went on vacation that was his vacation. He only went with us once to the seashore.”

“But he had a fantastic laugh,” William adds. “If you could get that man to laugh it would fill you with pure joy.”

Home during the day while Deborah and William were at school and then gone until about 10:00 p.m., when he would return home from Fleisher’s evening classes for his regular late-night meal of soup, crackers, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, their paths did not cross all that often. The majority of the time they spent together, Deborah says, was on the weekend after Fleisher’s Saturday classes ended. Much of his free time was spent sequestered in his studio, a sanctum were few were allowed to tread.

“We were his children,” William says with a chuckle. “But I always thought his real children were in his studio.”

Not one to promote himself and with no gallery representation or manager, Hirshman’s artistic legacy began to fade after his death in 1986 and the gap between him and his children widened.

“Before he died, he said to me and my mom, ‘take my pictures and put them in the closet,” Deborah recalls.

Above: Hirshman’s caricature of Albert Einstein. 

His most recognizable work, a caricature of Albert Einstein with a mop for a head, a brush for a nose and face, and an abacus for a body, moved from its spot in the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s registrar’s office to storage and a number of other works have been lost or were possibly stolen.

In an effort to get to know their father even better, track down nearly 40 missing works, and allow those who knew him to further explore the shift in his work that occurred after John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Hirshman’s children created hirshman-art.com. William Hirshman says he is particularly eager to locate his father’s caricature of Fidel Castro, with a beard of chain, a donut mouth, and a hot dog cigar.

“I always recognized him as someone who could do something special. But it’s only as the years have gone on that I’ve appreciated what he did more and more. He was, in my mind, a genius and I don’t think I’m overstating it,” William says. “In a way, now, I talk to my father more than I did then.”

Above: Louis Hirshman with Louis Hirshman.

William hopes Fleisher’s vast community can help him even more. He is actively gathering stories from former students and faculty members to learn as much as he can about his father, and anyone with leads on missing artworks can submit tips through the website. For more information, visit hirshman-art.com.

(Editor’s Note: To see the original post, go the Fleisher website.)

53 comments

  1. Pingback: buy chloroquine

  2. hydroxychloroquin - 29. May 2020 16:49

    hydroxychloroquin https://hydroxychloroquine1st.com/

    Reply
  3. Pingback: tadalafil without a doctor's prescription

  4. 온라인바카라 - 8. June 2020 12:50

    I looked at some of these kinds of high-quality articles and blog posts. While exploring Yahoo, I finally found this website. Studying this information makes me happy to express that I felt very good about finding what I needed. I’m sure I’ll keep looking at this site at a glance.

    Reply
  5. keflex without a doctor's prescription - 10. June 2020 12:30

    keflex without a doctor’s prescription https://keflex.webbfenix.com/

    Reply
  6. EstherSpill - 10. June 2020 17:35

    Tkelpc wrqpoh safe canadian pharmacy best online pharmacy

    Reply
  7. EstherSpill - 11. June 2020 14:08

    Bftdnf fjubjg best online pharmacy cvs pharmacy

    Reply
  8. EstherSpill - 12. June 2020 10:07

    Uqjuno mvjgqx canada drugs online canada online pharmacy

    Reply
  9. EstherSpill - 13. June 2020 15:35

    Eyfset dxcujs Buy cheap viagra online Viagra original pfizer order

    Reply
  10. online cialis - 14. June 2020 05:58

    online cialis https://www.wisig.org/

    Reply
  11. EstherSpill - 14. June 2020 11:15

    Pecawf gaxrru Buy brand viagra Pfizer viagra canada

    Reply
  12. EstherSpill - 15. June 2020 06:16

    Znfiqq dluxzj Buy discount viagra Viagra pfizer

    Reply
  13. EstherSpill - 16. June 2020 03:47

    Dwqbyu mtprbn Order viagra online walmart pharmacy

    Reply
  14. buy ventolin online - 16. June 2020 15:18

    buy ventolin online https://amstyles.com/

    Reply
  15. EstherSpill - 16. June 2020 21:00

    Uxwdde glwezz cialis generic pharmacy online

    Reply
  16. buy tadalafil - 17. June 2020 14:14

    cialis dose mg no registered users and
    cialis from canada over the counter yim
    side effects for tadalafil
    – generic viagra compare cialis pills
    cialis comparison viagra

    Reply
  17. EstherSpill - 17. June 2020 14:52

    Moqdtp jgozab Generic cialis next day delivery online pharmacy

    Reply
  18. EstherSpill - 18. June 2020 09:36

    Wgunjm muxxmi Cialis next day delivery canadian pharmacy online

    Reply
  19. Pharmacy viagra - 19. June 2020 04:44

    Xpxstc cbkfph buy vardenafil online

    Reply
  20. Buy cheap viagra - 19. June 2020 23:07

    Hyqzvr ychylg generic vardenafil online

    Reply
  21. Generic viagra usa - 20. June 2020 16:41

    Naznld ltfclb buy levitra online

    Reply
  22. Viagra 100 mg - 21. June 2020 11:51

    Mzwusr kbksnf levitra online ed medications

    Reply
  23. Buy viagra canada - 22. June 2020 05:39

    Olqwpd wauhzf buy kamagra 100mg generic viagra top erection pills

    Reply
  24. buy viagra - 22. June 2020 07:35

    buy viagra https://mymvrc.org/

    Reply
  25. Buy cheap viagra online us - 23. June 2020 01:02

    Thsvbg qrttgo casino online real money play casino online

    Reply
  26. Free viagra samples - 23. June 2020 12:29

    Qwcirm jwqhhw order levitra canadian pharmacy online

    Reply
  27. Buy viagra now online - 23. June 2020 21:43

    Tnauwo jehqer play for real online casino games big fish casino online

    Reply
  28. Viagra original pfizer order - 24. June 2020 22:14

    Llehia ezrwtd propecia hair loss mens erection pills

    Reply
  29. Discount viagra online - 25. June 2020 04:07

    Tatqyn qlmqyz purchase cialis canada pharmacy

    Reply
  30. Canada viagra generic - 26. June 2020 04:01

    Vhyejl zccchh cheapest viagra erectile dysfunction drug

    Reply
  31. Samples of viagra - 27. June 2020 06:20

    Etjlug wbhbfk buy generic viagra ed medications

    Reply
  32. Drug viagra - 28. June 2020 06:53

    Txgnzi mocndy online casino with free signup bonus real money usa real money online casino

    Reply
  33. Viagra mail order usa - 29. June 2020 02:25

    Hkdnlq sqvgje play online casino real money casino online games for real money

    Reply
  34. Viagra alternative - 29. June 2020 08:14

    Raabzl iawzns online pharmacy viagra Buy viagra canada

    Reply
  35. Canada viagra - 30. June 2020 03:22

    Qnuccm hdljdx real money online casino online casino

    Reply
  36. Order viagra online - 30. June 2020 05:41

    Tmulus pbprgp online cash loans personal loans

    Reply
  37. 바카라 사이트 - 30. June 2020 10:33

    Nice to meet you.
    I learned some right things here. Please make sure to specify a valuable bookmark for the return visit.
    I wonder how much effort you’re making to create this useful site.

    Reply
  38. Buy brand viagra - 1. July 2020 01:08

    Hgytds ionett loans no credit check cash advance lenders

    Reply
  39. Free viagra - 1. July 2020 04:08

    Fjlmad vhlnby cialis generic date best online pharmacy

    Reply
  40. Canadian pharmacy viagra - 1. July 2020 05:07

    Poisbp nkhjyj loans no credit check casino slots

    Reply
  41. Canadian viagra 50mg - 2. July 2020 01:53

    Oxfuoh xvbwic same day payday loans personal loan bad credit

    Reply
  42. Buy viagra canada - 2. July 2020 19:52

    Bfkrxu hffrlh payday lenders play for real online casino games

    Reply
  43. 출장 - 2. July 2020 20:38

    It’s really a great and helpful piece of info. I’m glad that you shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  44. Viagra australia - 3. July 2020 01:01

    Oijlgz tfggwq loans online casino moons online casino

    Reply
  45. Real viagra online - 3. July 2020 20:58

    Iplqpt pqtrqh cash loan same day cash loans

    Reply
  46. cialis pills - 4. July 2020 10:02

    Kgkuru vkmndc lasix 40mg lasix 100 mg tablet

    Reply
  47. order viagra online - 4. July 2020 15:22

    Fklxlq zvysye amoxil USA buy amoxicillina noscript

    Reply
  48. 대구오피 - 4. July 2020 17:23

    I am regular visitor, how are you everybody?
    This article posted at this website is in fact good
    I

    Reply
  49. cialis pills - 6. July 2020 00:39

    Dcabyz sumpot furosemida 40 mg lasix 40mg

    Reply
  50. viagra cost - 6. July 2020 04:50

    Esclvq ozlvwv cheap zithromax 250mg without a doctor prescription info on edpills 24h com antibiotics zithromax html

    Reply
  51. generic cialis canada - 6. July 2020 06:40

    Xkjjdq ualaco buy Silagra buy Vigora

    Reply
  52. tadalafil 5mg - 7. July 2020 10:37

    Zjvfyo ujebku generic lasix lasix pills

    Reply
  53. canadian pharmacy viagra - 8. July 2020 21:43

    Smkhjd qhhjix order clomiphene buying clomid online

    Reply

Have your say

*