Jun 09, 2022 - Sale 2608

Sale 2608 - Lot 158

Price Realized: $ 40,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 15,000 - $ 25,000

AL HIRSCHFELD (1903-2003)

Sweeney Todd.

Illustration for the 1979 original Broadway production of "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" at the Uris Theatre, published in The New York Times, February 25, 1979. Pen and ink on board with graphite sketching, 1979. 483x737 mm; 19x29 inches. Signed "Hirschfeld 5" in ink, lower right, and title and cast list in Hirschfeld's hand along top edge: "Upper L. to R. Sarah Rice, Victor Garber - Lower L. to R. Joaquin Romaguera, Len Cariou (Title Role), Angela Lansbury, Jack Eric Williams and Edmund Lyndeck in Sweeney Todd at the Uris Theater." Archivally matted and framed to 2x32 inches.

Provenance: Margo Feiden Galleries, Ltd; Martin Richards; gifted by Richards to current owner.

Accompanying the lot is a bound copy of the score, presented to the show's producers, Martin Richards and Mary Lea Johnson, as a memento by the printers, Chelsea Music Service, Inc., and signed by six of its staff members.

With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, direction by Harold Prince, and an all-star cast, Sweeney Todd was a tour-de-force of Broadway talent. It swept the Tony Awards for 1979 winning eight Bests including Musical, Original Score, Actor, Actress, Direction, Best Book of a Musical, Scenic Design and Costume. It went on to receive an additional nine Drama Desk Awards.

Hirschfeld illustrated his first Sondheim musical in 1957 with West Side Story. Though he had been drawing the American Theatre for more than thirty years by then, he went on to record the next half-century of Sondheim on Broadway, off-Broadway, and in films. Hirschfeld captured almost all of his Broadway shows and few of the films he scripted or scored. Sondheim was himself a Hirschfeld collector, acquiring show drawings either directly from the artist or through his friends and collaborators like Hal Prince. In his last interview, just five days before his death, the times included a photo of Sondheim with an image of Hirschfeld's Putting it Together in the background.

"While the two men were quite different, Hirschfeld would have probably agreed with Sondheim's quote that 'Content Dictates Form; Less is More; God Is in the Details — all in the service of Clarity, without which nothing else matters.'"--from "Stephen Sondheim: His Career as Seen by Al Hirschfeld," Alhirschfeldfoundation.org. November, 2021.