Lou Hirshman

“Leopold Stokowski” – 1939

Click on image for an enlargement.

“Caricature” is almost too frivolous of a word to describe Hirshman’s 1939 presentation of the well-known flamboyant conductor Leopold Stokowski, musical director of the Philadelphia Orchestra (the city where Hirshman lived most of his life). Here was an almost-certainly unique innovation in the field of  3D “construction” in a 2D format. The glass that usually only functions to cover and protect the artwork actually became the artwork. Hirshman, who at one time could only find a job tediously painting designs on porcelain plates, here painted Stokowski’s distinctive body on the inside of the glass cover with the conductor’s face and hands of delicate feathers and wicker-woven hair recessed and attached to the backboard of the piece.

This creation, painstakingly crafted, actually had to be created twice. Hirshman’s son, while playing livingroom soccer with his dog, accidentally sent a sneaker flying that hit the Stokowski caricature hanging on the wall and breaking the glass – Hirshman’s only piece where the glass covering was the art itself .




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